10 days after being hammered by Cyclone Idai, Mozambique continues to contend with a sprawling flood plain and acute aid constraints.
UNITED NATIONS – More than 10 days after Cyclone Idai hit the African nations of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, aid groups are just beginning to scale up deliveries of food, medicine and shelter to those in need.
The U.N. estimates the storm totally destroyed 37,000 homes in Mozambique and partially destroyed another 19,000, and that’s just in areas first responders have been able to reach.
“The scale of the damage is becoming clearer and satellite images show that those floodplains include an inland ocean that is 125 kilometers by 25 kilometers – the size of the country of the Luxembourg.”
Déborah Nguyen is a World Food Program communications officer stationed in the coastal city of Beira.
A week ago, she said the city resembled an “apocalyptic scene.” We checked back today to learn if things had improved since.
“When we meet people living in Beira who have had their homes destroyed by the cyclone we can feel that they are very tired, because they’ve been staying in a school where they have to share a classroom with 30 other people, and you have to imagine that it’s very very hot and humid right now in Beira, so the living conditions are quite difficult without running water and power.”
Nguyen says the WFP has supplied 115,000 people with food so far, but needs continue to outpace supply.
“People are getting hungry as well. They receive food when they stay at accommodation centers, but not enough to eat every day.”
And while supplying that aid should get easier as flood waters recede, helicopters and boats remain in high demand.
The U.S. military is pitching in. The Pentagon said Monday it will spend $6.5 on aid airlifts, but Mozambique’s recovery will require more than that. On Monday the U.N. appealed for $282 million for recovery efforts in Mozambique for the next three months, on top of separate appeals for neighboring Malawi and Zimbabwe expected in the coming days.