“This is a major humanitarian disaster”
“There are at least 145,000 displaced people in the city of Beira alone, which has a population of more than 500,000,” explains Marco Tamburro, Humanity & Inclusion’s program director in Mozambique. “We’re unsure of the final death toll because we don’t yet know what the situation is like in isolated areas. But it’s likely to rise.”
Preventing waterborne illnesses
Floods, dirty water, and poor hygiene poses a new threat to people already hit hard by the disaster. “Cases of cholera have already been reported in the city of Beira," Tamburro adds. “Floods make this type of disease more likely. So, we plan to distribute hygiene kits, which should provide more than 6,000 families with a healthier living environment.”
Tomorrow, Humanity & Inclusion’s teams in France will also send out mobility aids including crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers, along with generators and a logistics kit, to equip a temporary office in the disaster area.
The city of Beira still bears the scars of the cyclone. Although several roads have been reopened, they remain lined with debris from trees and roofs. “During the first few days, it was very difficult to get to people due to the floods. The situation has improved somewhat over the past three days, and we’re coordinating our actions with other organizations to make sure distributions get through."
Jérôme Rigard, Humanity & Inclusions logistics manager, explains what our team is doing to ensure these individuals receive access as soon as possible:
Food aid & peace of mind
Humanity & Inclusion donors will provide food aid to more than 10,000 families.
But these families are deeply traumatized. "The shock suffered by disaster victims has to be taken into consideration," Tamburro adds. "The whole city of Beira was affected. The people who lived through the cyclone and lost everything are deeply traumatized. We first need to provide psychological assistance to make sure they feel they have someone who can listen to them.”
Humanity & Inclusion in Mozambique
Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Mozambique since 1986, and is best known there for our work helping victims of landmines and other explosive ordnance left from the country’s civil war. We ran a large demining operation that wrapped up when the country declared itself mine free in 2015. Currently, our teams are working to promote the rights and social participation of people with disabilities, support civil society to improve the social inclusion of people with disabilities, and prevent the development of disabilities.
Humanity & Inclusion launched a global appeal for donations on Tuesday March 19. Individuals can make secure gifts via www.hi-us.org/mozcyclone (includes links to PayPal donation options).
HI's Mozambique Country Director is available for comment.
Contact Mica Bevington to set up an interview on [email protected]
Photo: A fallen tree and other damage in Beira, Mozambique, following Cyclone Idai.