“Access is the major challenge”
More than a week after Cyclone Idai hit central Mozambique, the situation remains critical.
“More than 17,000 houses, nearly 3,000 classrooms and 40 health centers have been destroyed," explains Marco Tamburro, program director for HI in Mozambique. Beira is a city of more than 500,000 inhabitants and it has been completely devastated. You have to imagine a city like Manchester in the United Kingdom, with huge amounts of debris, waterlogged streets and a communication network that no longer works. Accessing people in need is the major challenge of this rescue operation.”
According to the Mozambican authorities, Cyclone Idai killed nearly 250 people, but this toll could be much more serious, as many areas have not yet received any relief.
To coordinate clearance operations, and enable humanitarian aid to be delivered, Humanity & Inclusion's team is assessing the areas of Beira that pose the greatest logistics challenges.
Among the concerns: "Our office in Beira was partially destroyed," Tamburro notes.
Early next week, Humanity & Inclusion's emergency equipment kits will be in position. The first kits are stocked with mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, so that injured people, or people who have lost their walking aids, can move around. Several generators, as well as a logistics kit containing the necessary equipment to install a temporary base for the growing Humanity & Inclusion team will arrive. "We need this equipment to be able to coordinate our work,” he adds.
At the same time, emergency experts are being deployed to assist the populations most affected by the disaster.
"We are strengthening our teams to be able to help the most vulnerable survivors. We hope to be able to provide food aid to more than 12,000 families and hygiene kits to more than 500 families. We will also work with all humanitarian actors to ensure that the most vulnerable people are included in the emergency response. When confronted with tens of thousands of people who need help, it is essential to avoid a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, so that older people, people with disabilities, and vulnerable groups receive the specific care they need.”
Humanity & Inclusion in Mozambique
Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Mozambique since 1986. 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.
Photo: A family in Beira, Mozambique, surveys the damage around their home, following Cyclone Idai.