By Akanimo Sampson
The official death toll in the Cyclone Idai ravaging Mozambique, has risen by 21 people to 468 deaths as of March 26, with more than 1,500 people injured, according to the Government.
Already, 91,000 houses have been identified as totally destroyed (50,619), partially destroyed (24,556) or flooded (15,784); an increase of nearly 19,000 since March 25.
The number of people accommodated in 154 sites across Sofala (114 sites), Manica (26 sites), Zambezia (10 sites) and Tete (4 sites)was nearly 128,000 people as of March 26. The authorities have identified more than 7,400 vulnerable people across the IDP sites.
Flood waters are beginning to recede west of Beira City. However, the situation remains critical in the area of Mafambisse, according to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. The outflow of flood waters poses new challenges, as the area that was previously underwater is now a large muddy swamp, according to analysts.
The risk of water-borne and vector-borne diseases remains very highand there are reports of increasing cases of acute watery diarrhoea, along with reports of malaria. Business owners of destroyed restaurants and hotels in Beira City have requested tax exemptions in order to boost economic recovery. Several hotels, especially along the beach, were destroyed.
The owners are trying to repair the damage and restore service, but incalculable losses and the lack of electricity are making recoverymore expensive.
Beira airport is fully operational, but fuel shortages, low fuel refilling capacity, and lack of loading and handling capacities for suppliespersist. Chimoio airport has limited operations at night due to lack of a functional illumination system.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is positioning supplies to prepare to treat diarrhoeal diseases, and 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccines (OCV) are en route to Mozambique from the global emergency stockpile.
WHO is also providing expertise to set up three cholera treatment centres, including an 80-bed treatment centre in Beira.
This United Nations health agency is building up a surge team of over 40 staff from across the Organisation-with expertise in logistics, epidemiology, and outbreak prevention and response–for the Mozambique response.
Four locations have been identified for the establishment of Temporary Learning Spaces and Child Friendly Spaces, according to the Education Cluster.
Protection partners are working to prevent gender-based violence and provide services to displaced people sheltering crowded in areas with poor lighting and little or no separation between families.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is helping to provide 10 women-friendly safe spaces to support case management and a training of volunteers on GBV has been completed.
These volunteers will also be used to distribute hygiene kits and to advocate for protection of vulnerable groups in accommodation centres and host communities. Shelter supplies and non-food items continue to be distributed.
In Buzi district, 470 family kits were distributed through Oxfam’s partner organization, AJOAGO, in displacement camps in Estaquinha and Guara Guara -an area currently accessible only by boat or helicopter, and still without functional communication systems. Each family kit includes two blankets, a 10-litre bucket, two mosquito nets, one jerry can, eight spoons and two cloth wrappers and water purification tablets.
The Municipal Government of Beira City has authorised the rebuilding of houses and infrastructure destroyed by the cyclone without prior municipal license until May 31, according to media reports. The special authorisation was granted in a communique by the Mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango to carry out urgent replacement works.
The Beira Municipality has also reportedly exempted vendors at the city’s largest market, the Maquinino, of paying municipal fees. Most of the stalls in the market were destroyed by the floods. Goods of unknown value were damaged, leaving traders with no commodities to sell.
Community Engagement partners continue to air key messages through the local radio and have supported the translation of principles on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)for the Cyclone Idai response to Portuguese and Nyanja (local language) to ensure effective communication with the affected communities.
All materials on disease prevention, including on HIV/AIDS, cholera and malaria were translated into Sena and Ndau local languages and aired on radio, to ensure effective reach.
The Department of Social Communication, in collaboration with partners, has procured a vehicle that has been mounted with a megaphone for further transmission of messages to communitiesthat have no access to radio or phone reception. A team of 12 staff from a local radio will also support the dissemination of messages through door to door visits.
An appeal launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in the UK on March 21, to assist people affected by Cyclone Idai hadreportedly raised $24 million (£18 million) as of March 26. In addition, the British Government matched pound for pound $5.3 million (£4 million) donated by the public to the DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal.
DEC member charities are working closely with national partners to support the rescue and relief effort, delivering clean water, emergency shelter materials and blankets, food such as pulses and maize flour, and urgent health assistance.