On March 15, 2019, Tropical Cyclone Idai slammed into central Mozambique as a category 3 storm. After lingering in the Mozambique channel for six days, Idai made landfall near Beira, Mozambique, and tracked inland towards Malawi and Zimbabwe. The storm brought severe wind and flooding to these regions, with extensive damage caused to homes, schools, health facilities and infrastructure. Nearly three million people have been affected by the storm and sadly, the number of lives lost continues to rise as search and rescue efforts persist.
The region is still in a state of emergency and immediate support has been mobilized by the UN, aid organizations and other regional states, to assist with coordination, logistics and medical needs.
The full extent of the situation is still unfolding and whilst media attention has begun moving away from the devastated communities, survivors still face dire circumstances. The current priorities within the region are access to food, clean water and sanitation. This post-disaster region is a highly complex and challenging environment for both survivors and aid workers, as flooding persists, desperation for aid mounts and water-borne diseases become an increasing threat.
The Mozambique government has called this a “humanitarian disaster of great proportion” and requested international support. While we’d like to aid communities in the immediate aftermath of this cyclone, this is a highly complex situation and data collection during our remote assessment indicates we’ll be more effective if we focus on recovery efforts.
Based on extensive conversations with in-country contacts, we’ve decided to deploy our Disaster Assessment Response Team (DART) to Mozambique in early May. By that time, we expect the rains to have stopped and the situation to have somewhat stabilized. Our team will perform ground assessments and work with local partners in determining where our help is needed within the region and how we can best support recovery efforts.
In the coming weeks, we aim to Identify a partner organization that has a long-standing relationship with an affected Mozambique community, made a long term commitment to stay in the community and has suffered damage to their services/facilities that we can effectively address.
It’s clear the road to recovery will be long and arduous. If we can assist with long term recovery, we expect this effort to require months of thoughtful planning and coordination with a local partner before starting a volunteer program.
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