Displaying 1 - 23 of 23
24/02/2021 | Article

A new start for over 600 people affected by Cyclone Eloise in Mozambique

Nhamatanda, 20 February 2021—Survivors of Cyclone Eloise have received materials from Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) to construct houses and start a new life. “I would like to thank the Red Cross for giving me and my neighbours these materials. We were suffering at the camp; there wasn’t enough space. With this donation, we will be able to construct our house and live a normal life again,” said Amelia Lewanhe, one of the families that received shelter materials. Over 300,000 people have been affected by Eloise that made landfall on 23 January. Thousands were forced from their homes and have been living in temporary accommodation shelters. More than 117,000 hectares of crops were destroyed by torrential downpours and floods. The most affected districts are Nhamatanda, Buzi, Beira and Dondo. Mozambique is prone to cyclones and tropical storms which can lead to flash flooding, hundreds of deaths, and massive destruction of property and crops. Eloise struck areas that have been devastated by previous cyclones, including Cyclone Idai. In addition, this is the third time for Mozambique to be hit by a storm this season: Tropical Storm Chalane hit the country in December 2020 and in February 2021 by Cyclone Gaumbe. Speaking on Saturday during the ceremony of handing over shelter materials to 122 families, Mr. Giro Jose Custodio—the Provincial Secretary of Sofala Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM)—said that CVM is committed to supporting the people affected by Eloise to start a new life. “We are aware of their problems from the evacuation period to this time. We are mobilizing resources to assist the remaining people in other accommodation centers. Our aim is to get all the affected people out of the accommodation centres,” said Custodio. CVM, with financial and technical support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) distributed shelter tool kits, kitchen sets, blankets, sleeping mats, bamboo poles, tarpaulins, ropes, and face masks for COVID-19 prevention, among others. With this distribution, the John Segredo accommodation centre has seen over 610 people moving out of the centre creating space for the remaining communities. The Red Cross has been at the forefront of the response including through anticipation and early action that saved lives. Ahead of the landfall, Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) staff and volunteers shared early warning messages to communities in the path of the cyclone to minimize the impact. As a result, many families were moved to safer areas, where they are receiving support from our teams. On January 23, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) released 359,689 Swiss francs from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)—to help Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) provide immediate relief and lifesaving assistance to 1,000 cyclone-affected families for three months with regards to health and care services as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene. The road to recovery is long and the IFRC is appealing for 5.1 million Swiss francs to support the (Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) to continue to deliver assistance and support early recovery of 100,000 people affected by Cyclone Eloise for 12 months. The appeal focuses on shelter and essential household items (EHI), livelihoods and basic needs, health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), protection, gender and inclusion (PGI) and disaster risk reduction (DRR).

Read more
22/01/2021 | Press release

Devastation feared as Eloise approaches Mozambique

Maputo/Nairobi/Geneva, 22 January 2021 — With Tropical Storm Eloise expected to make landfall in Central Mozambique early tomorrow (23 January), the Red Cross is warning of the potential for major damage and displacement. Tropical Storm Eloise is predicted to make landfall in Sofala Province, about 20km north of the city of Beira that bore the brunt of Cyclone Idai in March 2019. The Red Cross has activated teams of volunteers to support evacuation and preparation efforts. Gorkhmaz Huseynov, IFRC’s head of country office in Mozambique, said: “We are worried about the safety of over 1 million people in high-risk areas. Mozambique Red Cross teams are on high alert and have already prepositioned emergency relief items in the landfall area. They are already providing water, sanitation, hygiene and health services to families in temporary accommodation centres.” Tropical Storm Eloise is predicted to turn into a category one cyclone with winds between 110km per hour and 185km per hour. Heavy rains will be felt on the coast of Zambezia, Sofala and Inhambane provinces from this evening (22 of January). The cyclone is forecast to cross central Mozambique with considerable strength and potential for widespread floods. It is expected to decrease in intensity as it crosses southern Zimbabwe and South Africa. IFRC’s Huseynov said: “Ahead of the landfall, Mozambique Red Cross staff and volunteers—in collaboration with partners—have shared early warning messages to communities in the path of the cyclone in order to minimise the impact of the cyclone. As a result, many families moved to safer areas, where they are receiving support from our teams.” Mozambique is prone to cyclones and tropical storms which can lead to flash flooding, hundreds of deaths, and massive destruction of property and crops. Eloise is expected to strike areas that have been devastated by previous cyclones, including Cyclone Idai.

Read more
29/12/2020 | Press release

Red Cross officially activates anticipatory actions ahead of Cyclone Chalane in Mozambique

Maputo/Geneva, 28 December 2020 – In anticipation of Cyclone Chalane’s potential landfall on Wednesday in Mozambique, the Mozambique Red Cross, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and German Red Cross has activated its recently approved Early Action Protocol for Cyclones, with a series of preparedness actions to minimise the cyclone’s impact on communities. Forecast-based Action is a new form of Red Cross readiness and preparedness actions. It is governed by an ‘Early Action Protocol’, consisting of a preparedness phase with the strategic prepositioning of materials that are tailored to reduce the impact of disasters, and a readiness phase consisting of a tranche of funding that is disbursed up to 72 hours prior to an impending disaster when a cyclone reaches a “trigger” level. In doing so it allows humanitarian actors who are on high alert to kick into action before the event takes place. Jurg Wilbrink, Forecast-based Action Project Manager IFRC Southern Africa, said: “Our emphasis at this stage is on anticipation and not reaction. Instead of waiting for the cyclone to hit, we are preparing for its impact. By Wednesday, if the cyclone makes landfall, Red Cross staff and volunteers will have launched early warnings and supported reinforcing houses and public structures, as well as strategic stock in place to limit the potential damage caused to people and infrastructure in targeted vulnerable communities.” Early actions will include the delivery of shelter kits and other emergency supplies like items for increased hygiene and sanitation, as well as COVID-19 hygiene kits, quick efforts to fortify houses and the distribution of non-food items to buffer the impacts of Chalane. Red Cross volunteers will also be active in sharing potentially life-saving information, including the position of safe areas, medical help and key actions to take before landfall in the area. Mozambique is a country prone to cyclones and tropical storms which can lead to flash flooding, hundreds of deaths, and massive destruction of property and crops. Chalane is expected to strike the districts of Buzi, Beira, Dondo and Muanza in Central Mozambique - areas that were devastated by Cyclone Idai in March 2019, and was again hit by severe flooding in February this year, with thousands displaced from their homes and many left clinging to trees to avoid being swept away by the rising river. Cyclone Chalane is expected to reach windspeeds of up to 125km per hour. Recent Red Cross analysis suggests that, even if it makes landfall with windspeeds of 72km per hour, 30 per cent of vulnerable housing structures could be destroyed. Jânio Dambo, Forecast-based Financing Project Manager at the Mozambique Red Cross (CVM) said that early action will roll out over the next three days ahead of Wednesday evening’s predicted landfall: “We were busy finalising the details of the early-action protocol in Mozambique when Cyclone Idai hit. At the time, what needed to happen was being put down on paper. This time around, we are putting everything into action. Early action.” Less than a month ago, over 1,000 individual actors participated in a large-scale simulation exercise, testing the workings of the protocol in Moma, Nampula. The lessons learnt during that exercise have already proved invaluable for how decision-makers are approaching Mozambique’s potential cyclone. For photos and videos of the ‘Early Action Protocol’ simulation exercise in Moma, Nampula, held from 27 November to 6 December 2020: Photos: Video:

Read more
11/03/2020 | Press release

Mozambique: Thousands remain vulnerable to recurrent disasters one year on from Cyclone Idai

Beira/Nairobi/Geneva, 11 March 2020 — It is almost 12 months since Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, but communities remain intensely vulnerable to the next big disaster, which is a matter of “when, not if”—the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned today. Cyclone Idai was 2019’s biggest disaster, killing more than 650 people and affecting more than 1.8 million others in the southern African country. While Red Cross teams have made significant progress in the response that followed the devastating cyclone, including giving emergency and recovery assistance to more than 310,000 people, the scale of the needs continues to outstrip the resources that are available to meet them. The Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre notes that cyclones like Idai “fit what we expect to see in a world where the climate is changing: stronger and more destructive storms, both in terms of wind intensity and amounts of rainfall (and thus flooding and landslides). To avoid impacts from ballooning even further, we must minimize further warming and increase ambition to reduce risk and preparedness for such events.” Mozambique Red Cross and its partners have provided emergency shelter, shelter reconstruction, livelihoods support, health services and community mobilization activities, as well as health facility reconstruction and psychosocial support. Yet thousands of people remain in a precarious situation, vulnerable to extreme weather that has been hitting the region. Rui Alberto Oliveira, IFRC’s head of operations in Mozambique, said: “Cyclones Idai and Kenneth hit communities that were already facing challenges from recurring floods and droughts, ongoing economic instability, non-resistant building construction, poorly maintained and protected water structures and assets, and communities heavily reliant on subsistence agriculture.” Recent events show how quickly communities can be set back. In the past month, Buzi district, which was devastated by Cyclone Idai, was again hit by severe flooding, with thousands displaced from their homes and many left clinging to trees to avoid being swept away by the rising river. Following last year’s cyclones, the Mozambique Red Cross has strengthened its branch in Buzi, allowing an immediate local response to last month’s disaster, saving scores of lives in the days before outside help could reach the district. “In addition to meeting humanitarian needs, significant investments in the recovery phase are needed in affected countries to ‘build back better’ and include support for climate-smart, risk- informed development,” Alberto continued. The IFRC emergency appeal launched after Cyclone Idai is 86 per cent covered, leaving a funding gap of some 4.4 million Swiss francs to complete the two-year response and recovery programme.

Read more
12/12/2019 | Press release

Immediate action needed as millions face hunger in Southern Africa, warns the Red Cross

Pretoria/Nairobi/Geneva, 12 December 2019 –Hunger is threatening the lives of 11 million people in Southern Africa due to deepening drought and in the region. Red Cross teams across Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia are scaling up their response to emergency and crisis levels of food insecurity. “This year’s drought is unprecedented, causing food shortages on a scale we have never seen here before,” said Dr Michael Charles, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Southern Africa cluster. “We are seeing people going two to three days without food, entire herds of livestock wiped out by drought and small-scale farmers with no means to earn money to tide them over a lean season.” The countries with the most significant increase in food insecurity from last year are Zambia and Zimbabwe, with 2.3 million and 3.6 million people respectively suffering from acute food shortages. Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia have this year declared drought emergencies. In Eswatini, 24 per cent of its rural population is suffering from food shortages. The situation is set to worsen due to late or no rain in the region and crop production is down by 30 percent for the 2019/2020 harvest. In October, the IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal in Zambia to bring relief to those most affected by the persistent drought and is now widening its appeal for emergency funding to cover a further four countries affected by unprecedented levels of drought and hunger. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement already has ongoing operations on food insecurity in Eswatini, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe reaching 207,055 people (41,411 households). This newest appeal will broaden its reach to eight southern African countries and will target individuals not reached by other interventions in the region. “There is a major gap in investment in resilience and community-level capacities in countries hardest hit, including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini,” Dr Charles said. “As a humanitarian collective, we must take immediate action to respond to millions who face imminent starvation. Even more importantly, it is our responsibility to strengthen communities’ resilience and ability to adapt to the current challenges. Otherwise, we will never end hunger in the region.” The IFRC is calling for 7.7 million Swiss francs to mitigate the food crisis in the region. The overall objective of the multi-country Emergency Appeal is to provide immediate food assistance and livelihood recovery support to the most affected households in the targeted communities for a period of 14 months.

Read more
08/11/2019 | Press release

Mozambique: Thousands at risk of disease and malnutrition as rainy season begins

Beira/Geneva, 8 November 2019—More than half a year since cyclones Idai and Kenneth hit Mozambique, thousands of people are at risk of disease outbreaks and worsening food insecurity during the coming rainy season. Food insecurity is expected to affect 2 million people in Mozambique by early next year and nearly 38,000 children are currently at risk of malnutrition. Communities affected by recent cyclones are among those that are at risk. The damage wrought on water, sanitation and hygiene facilities by the two cyclones are in part responsible for the increased health risks. Communities in the most impoverished areas of urban and peri-urban Beira have inadequate water and sanitation facilities, exposing families to diseases. DrJemilah Mahmood, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Under Secretary General for Partnerships has been in central Mozambique leading a high-level delegation of Red Cross officials and donors visiting areas affected by cyclones Idai and Kenneth. She said: “The rainy season poses a real threat to the health of communities that are already extremely vulnerable. Mozambique is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. We have seen a clear trend of these disasters increasing. “We know future disasters will strike; we cannot prevent them. But we can massively reduce their impact by investing in local humanitarian capacity, by improving sanitation and hygiene practices and infrastructure, and by building stronger shelters that can weather storms.” The devastating human and economic toll of cyclones Idai and Kenneth are in major part due to a lack of this kind of anticipatory or preventative investment and programming. In May, IFRC reported that the price tag attached to Red Cross and UN response operations after the two cyclones was roughly 1,000 times the 340,000 Swiss francs that IFRC released before Idai made landfall to help evacuate and prepare at-risk communities. Dr Mahmood said: “This is one of the most painful and pertinent lessons of Mozambique: investments in preparedness are critical to reducing human suffering and saving countless lives. We call on governments, donors and humanitarian actors to do more to prevent and reduce the impact of future disasters here in Mozambique.” The Red Cross is working with affected communities to prepare for the coming rainy season as well as future disasters. This includes reconstructing homes that are flood and wind resistant, supporting community outbreak prevention and helping farmers grow stronger crops to tackle food insecurity. The Red Cross has provided more than 192,000 people with emergency relief and continues supporting those most vulnerable by providing shelter, health, water, sanitation, hygiene promotion, food assistance, psychosocial and livelihood support.

Read more
18/10/2019 | Article

Urgent action needed for countries in Southern Africa threatened by drought

All countries in the Southern Africa are currently experiencing pockets of dryness. Worryingly for the sub-region, Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe have declared state of emergencies due to looming drought. The United Nations Climate Action Summit scheduled for 23 September 2019 in New York, United States of America, presents a timely opportunity for urgent global discussions that will hopefully culminate inconcrete, realistic plans to address thedisproportionate impacts of climate change on developing countries. Southern Africa is one of the regions most affected by serious impacts of climate-induced natural disasters. This year alone, a succession ofcyclonesandfloodshas already resulted in significant loss of life and assets in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and kept humanitarian organisations busy with emergency responses, as well as recovery and rebuilding efforts. Tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth were different in that they managed to attract global attention because they caused significant devastation during a short period. Climate change-induced natural disasters in Southern Africa are often invisible in the global media, even though they are protracted and threaten the livelihoods of millions. Even lower-level cyclones can cause devastating floods that are quickly followed by debilitating droughts. Many national economies in Southern Africa are agriculturally based and as long as climate change mitigation strategies enshrined in existing globalpoliciesare not wholeheartedly implemented, a significant portion of the 340 million inhabitants of Southern Africa could be food-insecure in the long-term because of famine. The increased mass movement of people from areas affected by climate-induced natural disasters is also more likely. Internal and external migration will necessitate greater coordination among humanitarian organisations to adequately support receiving communities and countries to respond to the added burden introduced by new arrivals. The effects of food insecurity and mass movements are felt most by the vulnerable in our communities, such as the chronically ill and disabled, and women and children. They also place immense pressure on already strained health systems in many countries in the sub-region. With the necessary funds, the Red Cross Movement has the capability and is well placed to address some of the consequences. But urgent action is still needed on the climate change question. Climate change is certain and evident. Its effects are being felt more in less developed nations, especially in southern Africa. Efforts for adaptation are essential not only to decrease the negative consequences but also to increase opportunities for communities to be more resilient in the long-term. Countries in the sub-region are acting to decrease their response times to calamities and improve their communities’ readiness to mitigate impacts of natural disasters. Mozambique is the first country in Africa to have an Early Action Protocol approved; the protocol harnesses the power offorecast-based financingto ensure that humanitarian responses are more responsive and proactive. Malawi’s protocol is under review and Zambia’s is currently in development. The need for humanitarian assistance in Southern Africa in the latter part of 2019 and into 2020 will be greater with the imminent drought. Notwithstanding ongoing local efforts to improve countries’ and communities’ disaster risk management practices and increase their resilience, global stakeholders have a responsibility to definitively act to reduce the need for climate change-induced disaster mitigation efforts in the most affected developing countries. Originally published in the Southern Times Newspaper

Read more
09/08/2019 | Article

Women are the agents of change for climate change in southern Africa

By: Dr Michael Charles Today South Africa marks Women’s Day. Much like the women being commemorated for the march to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956, women in southern Africa today may well hold the same flint that lights a “new movement” – climate change. Southern Africa is one of the regions projected to experience the most serious consequences of global warming and the El Niño effect. In 2019, we experienced one of the worst disasters the region has ever seen - Cyclone Idai ravaged communities in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe and continue to rebuild their lives. Urgent action is needed to increase the region’s preparedness for natural disasters. It is only a matter of time until the next disaster strikes. Being female often automatically means that personal susceptibility to sexual and domestic violence, rape and assault in emergency situations is significantly heightened. Women experience additional difficulties because they are typically responsible for sourcing water and preparing food; caring for children, the injured, sick and elderly; and maintaining family and community cohesion. Tackling climate change is, undoubtedly, women’s business. They have a vested interest in avoiding and mitigating the impacts of climate change. It is time that humanitarian actors and policy and decision-makers mainstream gender in policy and practice. It is not a “nice to do”; it is crucial to making real and sustainable differences in the lives of affected people. In 1956, 200,000 South African women declared that enough was enough and acted to defend themselves and the unity and integrity of their families from restrictive laws that required them to carry a pass to reside and move freely in urban areas. Wathint'Abafazi Wathint'imbokodo! Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock! was the rallying cry of that day, used to signify the women’s unshakeable and unbreakable resolve in the face of adversity as they marched to the Union Building in Pretoria, and sparked change in the course of South Africa’s history. As countries in southern Africa ramp up their disaster risk management and humanitarian organisations work to strengthen community recovery and resilience, women in southern Africa should not just be considered victims and survivors who need special protection and assistance. They are forces for change who can be relied on to represent themselves within their communities and at the highest decision-making levels. I am always inspired by the women I meet responding in disasters, most recently in Cyclone Idai. Women like, Sonia, a volunteer who was working long hours to support women in a shelter, displaced by Cyclone Idai or Flora, who was affected herself by flooding but was dedicated to helping her neighbours rebuild their homes and their lives. Happy Women’s Day, South Africa. May the flame that was lit in 1956 and the fire of women’s empowerment and participation that was built over the decades rage on.

Read more
26/04/2019 | Press release

Cyclone Kenneth: First reports from northern Mozambique

Beira/Nairobi/Geneva, 26 April 2019 – Red Cross teams in northern Mozambique are reporting serious damage in towns and communities that bore the brunt of Cyclone Kenneth overnight. Kenneth made landfall with wind speeds of up to 231 km per hour – almost the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane. Initial reports from Quissanga indicate extensive damage to houses, while communication with Macomia and Muidumbe remains down. Antonio Carabante, Relief Delegate with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Nampula said: “These are initial reports, but they are quite concerning. We are being told that the wind caused quite a lot of damage. We are worried, especially about people living in communities that we have not yet heard from. We are working to open lines of communication, and to get personnel and supplies to where they are needed.” The situation is likely to be compounded in coming days by expected torrential rains. Some predictions suggest that Kenneth could drop as much as 250mm of water over the weekend – equivalent to about a quarter of average annual rainfall for the region. IFRC’s Carabante said: “While attention is often given to wind speed, we know from experience that it is rainfall – and subsequent flooding and landslides – that can be even more dangerous from a humanitarian perspective. This was certainly the case for Cyclone Idai. “The terrain in many affected communities are precarious – many of these areas are prone to flooding and landslides in normal rainfall, and this is far from a normal situation.” The districts of Macomia, Quissanga, Mocimboa da Praia and Mecufi are expected to experience the worst of the rainfall, according to meteorologists. Red Cross staff and volunteers across southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique have been helping communities prepare in anticipation of Cyclone Kenneth’s landfall. Their Red Crescent colleagues in Comoros have already supported search and rescue efforts, providing urgent first aid. Red Crescent teams have reported that more than 1,200 people are affected so far with this number expected to rise as homes and crops are damaged and destroyed across the islands of Comoros. IFRC launched an Emergency Appeal for 31 million Swiss francs to support the Mozambique Red Cross to provide 200,000 people with emergency assistance following Cyclone Idai over the next 24 months. IFRC is also supporting Tanzania, Comoros, and northern Mozambique, deploying experts to support local efforts in assessing and responding to the immediate needs on the ground.

Read more
24/04/2019 | Press release

Volunteers in Comoros, Mozambique and Tanzania prepare as Cyclone Kenneth forms

Nairobi/Geneva, 24 April 2019 – Teams of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are on alert as a Cyclone Kenneth makes its way to Comoros and potentially on to Tanzania and Mozambique. Red Cross volunteers in northern Mozambique are alerting communities in areas where the concern of flooding, erosion and landslides are particularly high, including Nacala-Porto and Nacala-A Velha districts. Tanzania and Mozambique Red Cross are prepositioning supplies and preparing teams in anticipation. Kenneth formed into a cyclone earlier today (24 April), and it could strengthen further before reaching Comoros as early as this evening. Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Regional Director for Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “We are concerned about the impact that this storm could have across the three countries. We are especially concerned about its possible impact in Mozambique where communities are still recovering from the devastation of Cyclone Idai. “We are supporting local Red Cross and Red Crescent teams on the ground across Comoros, Tanzania and Mozambique, ensuring they are ready if and when Cyclone Kenneth strikes.” An IFRC specialist is en route to Comoros to support local Red Crescent efforts. More than one month ago, Cyclone Idai affected approximately 1.8 million people across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and killed nearly 1,000. IFRC has launched an Emergency Appeal for 31 million Swiss francs to support the Mozambique Red Cross to provide 200,000 people with emergency assistance water, sanitation and hygiene; shelter, health, livelihoods and protection services over the next 24 months.

Read more
14/04/2019 | Press release

Mozambique Cyclone: Signs of recovery, but long road still ahead

Beira/Nairobi/Geneva, 14 April 2019 – One month after the worst disaster in Mozambique’s recent history, signs of recovery are beginning to emerge as people return home and as the deadly cholera outbreak appears to be starting to abate. However, hundreds of thousands of people will need sustained support over the coming months if recovery is to take hold, says the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Florent Del Pinto, Head of Emergency Operations for IFRC in Beira, said: “There is still a huge amount of work to do, but some of the immediate dangers are passing. “New cholera cases are declining. This is thanks in part to the work of Red Cross volunteers and staff who have provided clean water and sanitation, as well as treatment and care. But we cannot afford to be complacent – this work has to continue.” The disaster response operation, led by the Mozambique Red Cross with support from IFRC and other partners, has helped more than 38,000 survivors in the month since Cyclone Idai made landfall. Relief supplies have been distributed to some 19,000 people, 900 people have been treated at Red Cross field hospitals and clinics, and more than 250,000 litres of clean water have been produced and distributed. “This work has been effective, and we are now starting to see the initial green shoots of recovery in central Mozambique,” said Titus Queiroz dos Santos, Mozambique Red Cross Director of Programmes. “The survivors of this disaster are still suffering, but many are already determined to go home and rebuild their lives and livelihoods. The Red Cross will be there to support them at every step of the journey.” The Mozambique government has reported that the number of people still sheltering in relocation centres has dropped by half in recent days. The Mozambique Red Cross and partners are distributing relief supplies such as tarpaulins and shelter kits to people in need, and IFRC is deploying a dedicated team to plan a 24-month recovery programme focused on shelter, health, livelihoods and disaster risk reduction. Some 1.85 million people were affected by Cyclone Idai, which the World Bank estimates has caused 2 billion US dollars of damage in the affected countries. The Mozambique Red Cross and IFRC Emergency Appeal seeks 31 million Swiss francs to support 200,000 people.

Read more
11/04/2019 | Article

Empress Shôken Fund announces grants for 2019

About the Fund The Empress Shôken Fundis named after Her Majesty The Empress of Japan, who proposed – at the 9th International Conference of the Red Cross – the creation of an international fund to promote relief work in peacetime. It is administered by the Joint Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which maintains close contact with the Japanese Permanent Mission in Geneva, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Meiji Jingu Research Institute in Japan. The Fund has a total value of over 15 million Swiss francsand supports projects run by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to benefit their communities in various ways. The first grant was awarded in 1921, to help five European National Societies fight the spread of tuberculosis. The Fund has assisted more than 150 National Societies thus far. The imperial family, the Japanese government, the Japanese RedCrossand the Japanese people revere the memory of Her Majesty Empress Shôken, and their enduring regard for the Fund isevident inthe regularity of their contributions to it. The grants are usually announced every year on11April, the anniversary of her death. This yearthe announcement isbeingpublished earlierdue to the weekend. The selection process The Fund received 47 applications in 2019, covering a diverse range of humanitarian projects run by National Societies in every region of the world. This year the Joint Commission agreed to allocate a total of 395,782 CHF to 14 projects in Bolivia, Cyprus, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Singapore, Slovenia, Suriname, Thailand, Ukraine and Vanuatu. The projects to be supported in 2019 cover a number of themes, including displaced people, disaster preparedness in vulnerable communities, and social cohesion and inclusion. Moreover, nearly all of the selected projects seek to strengthen the volunteer base of National Societies, with a view to building on the unique role played by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in communities everywhere. Going forward, the Joint Commission will continue to focus on innovative projects that are geared towards learning so that the broader Movement canbenefit from project findings. The 2019 grants The Bolivian Red Cross is currently working to address the issue of gender-based violence among young people. It will use the grant to set up a permanent programme for schools and youth organizations in order to conduct educational sessions, raise awareness, and provide support and assistance to victims of violence. Cyprus has become an important destination for trans-Mediterranean migration. Using the grant, the Cyprus Red Cross Society will train refugees and asylum seekers in standard and psychological first aid to enable members of the migrant community to help each other and relieve some of the pressure on the health-care sector. The Red Cross Society of Guinea-Bissau will use the grant to strengthen the resilience of coastal communities threatened by extreme weather. The funds will go towards drawing up an emergency action plan, building up stocks of relief items and training at-risk communities so that they can respond rapidly in times of need. In Iraq, displaced people and those living in remote areas have limited access to water, sanitary facilities and health care, which increases the risk that diseases such as cholera will spread. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society will use the grant to set up a health-education programme to raise children’s awareness of communicable diseases and the importance of personal hygiene. The conflict in Syria has significantly increased the number of refugees in Lebanon, which has put a strain on blood-related services in the country. The Lebanese Red Cross is a major provider of these services and will use the grant to enhance its ability to deliver them free of charge to all those in need. Hundreds of schools in Mexico were damaged by a major earthquake in 2017. The grant will help the Mexican Red Cross to set up a programme to prepare school communities for disasters and other emergencies, promote healthy lifestyles and develop skills to facilitate peaceful co-existence. Young people account for more than 70% of the volunteers of the Mozambique Red Cross. The National Society will therefore use the grant to strengthen its youth-oriented initiatives by running training camps and information campaigns, and setting up Red Cross activities in schools. In 2004, the Sao Tome and Principe Red Cross opened a social home for the elderly, which plays an important role in reducing this community’s vulnerability. The grant will allow the National Society to renovate the building and improve the services on offer. The Singapore Red Cross Society runs a large-scale programme to deploy volunteers overseas during disasters. It will use the grant to scale up the training programme for these volunteers, adding more specialized and in-depth training and team-building sessions to ensure the volunteers can work as effectively as possible. The Slovenian Red Cross plans to take an innovative approach to social cohesion by tackling hate speech and its consequences, with a special emphasis on hate speech against migrants. The grant will go towards a training programme within schools, designed to encourage students to become young cultural ambassadors and further spread the message. The Suriname Red Cross Society will use the grant to address disaster preparedness in vulnerable schools in Paramaribo. The National Society will help schools and communities to draw up disaster plans, deliver first-aid training to teachers, and set up and train school emergency brigades made up of teachers and students. The Thai Red Cross Society has a proven track record in conducting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities in emergencies, through its widespread network of registered nurses. It will use the grant to scale up this campaign, as well as to create a WASH manual, together with general and menstrual hygiene kits. The armed conflict in Ukraine has led to a substantial rise in the number of volunteers working for the Ukrainian Red Cross Society. The grant will go towards a new, more sophisticated system for registering, managing and training the National Society’s growing volunteer base. People with disabilities are at greater risk during disasters. The Vanuatu Red Cross Society will therefore use the grant to improve and promote disability and gender inclusion in National Society projects and programmes concerning volunteers, recruitment, capacity building, participation and access.

Read more
03/04/2019 | Press release

Mozambique: Aid reaches community cut off since cyclone

Beira/Geneva, 3 April 2019 – More than 2,300 people isolated since Cycone Idai struck Mozambique received a major delivery of Red Cross emergency supplies late yesterday. The community of Buzi, which lies to the south of the city of Beira, had been almost entirely cut off from large-scale assistance as a result of the flooding and damage caused by the unprecedented storm more than two weeks ago. The distribution was the first of many that will target 20,000 people in Buzi. Jamie LeSueur, team lead for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “The distribution efforts that began yesterday in Buzi are a significant milestone in this disaster response due to the inaccessibility of communities. All relief supplies brought in for this distribution were delivered by boat and air, as all road access has been completely impossible.” The Red Cross delivery included basic but essential relief items such as shelter kits, jerry cans, kitchen sets, tarpaulins, buckets and tools. Supplies that will help stave off the growing threat of disease that many communities are facing, including clean water and mosquito nets, were also provided. The Mozambique Red Cross has been on the ground even before Cyclone Idai hit nearly two weeks ago and continues to support more than 200,000 people across the disaster zone. Cyclone Idai is the worst humanitarian crisis in Mozambique’s recent history. “We know there are many hard-hit areas like Buzi where people desperately need help. We are doing all we can to reach these people as quickly as possible,” said LeSueur. “The families that we met yesterday have been through so much. But there was real joy today, and it was amazing to see the resilience of these people as they begin down a path to rebuild their lives.”

Read more
27/03/2019 | Press release

Mozambique: Red Cross races to stop new disaster following confirmation of first cholera cases

Photo: Benjamin Suomela/Finnish Red Cross Beira/Nairobi/Geneva, 27 March 2019 – News that the first cases of deadly cholera have been confirmed in Mozambique has accelerated Red Cross and Red Crescent disease prevention activities in the vulnerable communities that have been devastated by Cyclone Idai. Jamie LeSueur, head of operations with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Beira, said: “We will all have to move extremely fast to stop these isolated cases from becoming another major disaster within the ongoing crisis of Cyclone Idai. “The Mozambique Red Cross and IFRC have been anticipating the danger of waterborne disease from the outset of this tragedy, and we are already very well-equipped to deal with it. We have an Emergency Response Unit ready to provide clean water for up to 15,000 people a day, and another emergency mass sanitation unit ready to support 20,000 people a day. “Mozambique Red Cross volunteers, who are well respected within the communities, will also be providing supplies of household water treatment, which is one of the most effective ways to prevent cholera,” LeSueur added. Other measures include the deployment of a Red Cross Emergency Hospital, which is on route to Beira and will arrive today. As well as being fully equipped to treat cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea, the hospital can provide medical services, maternal and newborn care and emergency surgery, as well as inpatient and outpatient care for at least 150,000 people. The Mozambique Red Cross has volunteers specially trained in cholera management who have responded to previous outbreaks. Equipment for creating oral rehydration points in affected communities is being deployed in the coming days. On Monday 25 March, IFRC tripled its Emergency Appeal from an initial 10 million to 31 million Swiss francs, to support a huge escalation in Red Cross and Red Crescent response and prevention efforts. The funds will enable IFRC to support the Mozambique Red Cross to provide 200,000 people with emergency assistance water, sanitation and hygiene; shelter, health, livelihoods and protection services over the next 24 months. Cyclone Idai has killed at least 446 people in Mozambique and is estimated to have affected 1.85 million others, according to the United Nations, which also reports that nearly 128,000 people are now sheltering in 154 collective sites across Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Tete. The floods covered more than 3,000 square kilometres, according to the Mozambique government, and are estimated to have destroyed around 90,000 houses and half a million hectares of agricultural land.

Read more
25/03/2019 | Press release

Mozambique: “Speed, quality and scale of response critical to preventing disease outbreaks,” says IFRC Secretary General

Photo: Benjamin Suomela, Finnish Red Cross Geneva/Nairobi/Beira, 25 March 2019 – The Red Cross and Red Crescent network is speeding up efforts to prevent disease outbreaks in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, with the arrival today of an Emergency Response Unit that will provide sanitation for 20,000 people every day. An emergency field hospital will follow. “After a disaster of this magnitude, the speed, quality, and scale of our response is critical to to stop the risk of waterborne disease outbreaks like cholera,” said the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy, at a media briefing at the United Nations in Geneva today. “As flood waters recede, hundreds of thousands of people still lack water, shelter and health care. We now see even more clearly the real consequences of this disaster.” Many National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are also supporting the response through the deployment of Emergency Response Units made up of trained technical specialists and pre-packed sets of standardized equipment deployed at short notice. They are vital disaster response tools, providing immediate support. A Red Cross field hospital is now en route to Mozambique to provide urgently-needed medical care. The hospital can provide medical services, emergency surgery, maternal and newborn care as well as inpatient and outpatient services for at least 150,000 people. A cargo flight will leave Geneva today with a Logistics Emergency Response Unit that will ensure that goods are received and channeled through customs, and that transportation is available for Red Cross volunteers. The Logistics Emergency Response Unit plays a key role in ensuring that resources provided by donors are tracked and managed. A further Emergency Response Unit – which will provide clean water for 15,000 people a day – is expected to arrive in the coming days. The IFRC is tripling its Emergency Appeal from an initial 10 million to 31 million Swiss francs, to support a huge escalation in the Red Cross and Red Crescent response and prevention efforts. The funds will enable IFRC to support the Mozambique Red Cross to provide 200,000 people with emergency assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, health, livelihoods and protection services over the next 24 months. “We are seeing tremendous collaboration and partnership from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from all over the world, and from our international and United Nations partners,” said Mr Sy. “But this disaster is not over, and we need to brace ourselves for the months ahead. It is vital that the response also empowers local leaders and local humanitarian actors, as Mozambique responds to this crisis.” Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.85 million people in Mozambique, according to the United Nations. An estimated 483,000 people have been displaced by the floods, which destroyed and submerged an area of more than 3,000 square kilometres.

Read more
22/03/2019 | Press release

Mozambique: “Tens of thousands of families have lost everything”

Beira/Nairobi/Geneva, 22 March 2019 – The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC ), Elhadj As Sy, speaking at the end of a visit to Beira, Mozambique and surrounding areas, said: “The scale and scope of suffering and damage is breath taking. Hundreds of thousands of people have been impacted in some way. We must respond fast and at scale, and prepare to accompany the affected populations on a longer term.” Mr Sy visited areas outside of Beira that were flooded by the cyclone. He also joined Mozambique Red Cross volunteers at the port in Beira as they received people who had been evacuated from flooded areas by boat. “I was able to fly over some of the flooded areas. The scale of this crisis is staggering. But we can’t forget that it is an intimate and human crisis. Tens of thousands of families have lost everything. Children have lost parents. Communities have lost schools and clinics. “Tragically, we know that the full picture of this disaster is probably even worse than it seems now. The death toll will probably rise further as more and more areas are reached and as more and more bodies are recovered,” said Mr Sy. There is growing concern among aid groups on the ground of potential disease outbreaks. Already, some cholera cases have been reported in Beira along with an increasing number of malaria infections among people trapped by the flooding. Mr Sy called on governments and donors to support the IFRC and Mozambique Red Cross preliminary emergency appeal for 10 million Swiss francs. These funds will allow Red Cross volunteers and aid workers to reach 75,000 people. This appeal will be substantially increased in the coming days as IFRC expands its operation to reach more people. Relief efforts are primarily focused on providing emergency shelter, health, water, sanitation and hygiene. Already, 1,500 emergency shelter kits that have already been distributed by Red Cross volunteers, providing families with protection from the elements and some degree of privacy and dignity. Shelter supplies for about 3,000 families will arrive by boat next week from a French Red Cross warehouse on Réunion island. A further dispatch of basic relief supplies (including tarpaulins, buckets and blankets) – enough for 37,500 people – will arrive mid next week. In addition, two IFRC Emergency Response Units (ERU) – one that can provide basic sanitation facilities for 20,000 people, and one that can produce clean water for 15,000 people per day – will arrive in Beira early next week. A third logistics ERU is also en route.

Read more
21/03/2019 | Press release

Emergency water and sanitation units deployed to disaster-struck Mozambique

Beira/Nairobi/Geneva, 21 March 2019 – Two major emergency response units are being deployed to Beira in Mozambique as the world’s largest humanitarian network continues to scale up its response to Cyclone Idai. The first will provide basic sanitation facilities for up to 20,000 people. The second will produce up to 225,000 litres of clean water per day – enough for 15,000 people. The humanitarian experts accompanying the units will arrive in the coming days, with the equipment to arrive in Beira early next week. Jamie LeSueur, the Head of Operations in Mozambique for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “We know that health risks can rise dramatically in the aftermath of any emergency, let alone one of this magnitude. We are concerned about the potential spread of waterborne disease. These emergency response units will be crucial for preventing that spread, and for making sure that people have the basic support they need.” A third emergency response unit, designed to manage the complex logistics involved in an operation of this scale, is also being deployed. In addition to water and sanitation, IFRC and Mozambique Red Cross are also aiming to address the massive shelter needs caused by the tropical cyclone and the floods. According to the government, at least 400,000 people have been displaced. Red Cross volunteers have already distributed emergency shelter kits – made up tarpaulins and basic tools – to about 1,500 families. These kits were part of a consignment that IFRC managed to deploy to Beira ahead of the flooding. Tomorrow (22 March), an additional consignment of emergency shelter kits for 3,000 families will arrive at the Beira port. These crucial supplies were deployed in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai from a French Red Cross warehouse on Réunion island. “Many people have been waiting for days for rescue and for support. It’s encouraging that the humanitarian response is really starting to come to scale. But more help is needed, and we are continuing to do all we can to bring in more resources and to reach more people,” said LeSueur. IFRC and Mozambique Red Cross are appealing for 10 million Swiss francs to help 75,000 people. Red Cross will focus on reaching those worst affected by the crisis. In addition to water and sanitation and shelter, IFRC is also focusing on responding to health needs and to ensuring that cyclone survivors are safe from harm during the coming recovery. IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy, is in Beira today and tomorrow and will be visiting Red Cross response efforts and meeting with affected communities.

Read more
19/03/2019 | Press release

Mozambique: Full extent of humanitarian emergency still emerging

Beira/Nairobi/Geneva, 19 March 2019 — With reports that at least 400,000 people have been made homeless in central Mozambique, the world’s largest humanitarian network is warning that the full extent of the “humanitarian catastrophe” caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai may take days to become clear. Jamie LeSueur, who is leading response efforts in Beira for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “This is the worst humanitarian crisis in Mozambique’s recent history. It is a humanitarian catastrophe for the people of Central Mozambique. Large parts of Beira have been damaged, entire villages and towns have been completely flooded. Rescuers are scrambling to pull people trapped on rooftops and in trees to safety. Many, many families have lost everything,” LeSueur said. Large areas to the west of Beira have been severely flooded. In some areas close to the Buzi and Pungwe rivers, flood water are metres deep and have completely covered homes, telephone poles and trees. Jamie LeSueur said: “The scale of suffering and loss is still not clear, and we expect that the number of people affected as well as the number of people who have lost their lives may rise.” IFRC and Mozambique Red Cross have today launched a 10 million Swiss franc emergency appeal to support about 75,000 of the worst affected people in central Mozambique. The appeal prioritizes shelter, and water and sanitation. Red Cross teams in Beira are today (19 March) distributing shelter supplies to affected families in Beira. Additional supplies for at least 3,000 families are being brought in by ship from the French Red Cross’ Indian Ocean Regional intervention Platform (PIROI in French) on Réunion Island. Red Cross volunteers in Beira are also handing out chlorine so that people can purify water. Aid workers are worried about the health risks in the wake of the cyclone, said LeSueur: “Waterborne diseases can increase in the aftermath of a disaster such as this due to the contamination of the water supply and disruption of usual water treatment. Outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis, hepatitis, cholera and other diseases could follow as a result,” LeSueur said. Malaria is endemic in Mozambique, peaking during the December to April rainy season. The extensive flooding could result in stagnant water that could become perfect breeding sites for mosquitoes. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is also present in the affected area. The ICRC has launched its Restoring Family Links activities to assist families separated by the cyclone to reconnect or register their ones as missing. It also deployed a forensics specialist to help manage the dead in a dignified way and donated fuel to Beira Central Hospital to ensure the critical health facility in the province continues to have power. Note: Amendment to Mr LeSueur's quote in third paragraph: "... Mozambique's history..." to "...Mozambique's recent history..."

Read more
18/03/2019 | Press release

Mozambique cyclone: “90 per cent” of Beira and surrounds damaged or destroyed

Beira/Nairobi/Geneva, 18 March 2019 — The scale of damage caused by cyclone Idai that hit the Mozambican city of Beira is massive and horrifying. This is the initial assessment of a team of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) aid workers that reached the devastated city yesterday. Jamie LeSueur, who is leading the IFRC assessment team into Beira, said the following after taking part in a Red Cross aerial assessment: “The situation is terrible. The scale of devastation is enormous. It seems that 90 per cent of the area is completely destroyed.” The IFRC team that arrived yesterday was among the first to arrive in Beira since Idai made landfall on 14/15 March. With Beira’s airport closed, the team drove from the capital Maputo before taking a helicopter for the last part of the journey. Roads into Beira have been cut off by flooding. While the physical impact of Idai is beginning to emerge, the human impact is unclear. “Almost everything is destroyed. Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible,” said LeSueur. “Beira has been severely battered. But we are also hearing that the situation outside the city could be even worse. Yesterday, a large dam burst and cut off the last road to the city.” Following its landfall in Mozambique Cyclone Idai continued west to Zimbabwe as a Tropical Storm, wreaking havoc in several districts in the eastern part of the country, with Chimanimani and Chipinge districts in Manicaland Province being the hardest-hit. At least 31 deaths have been reported and over 100 people are missing in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is the latest country in Southern Africa to be hit by heavy rains and violent winds, after Malawi and Mozambique. The death toll in the three countries is currently estimated at 150. But this number is likely to change as the full extent of the damage becomes clear. More heavy rain is also anticipated and this may lead to further devastation. IFRC has already released about 340,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund which will go towards an initial response effort for about 7,500 people. However, given the scale of the disaster, more resources may be needed to support Mozambique Red Cross efforts on the ground. Already, the team in Beira has identified shelter, health, and water, sanitation and hygiene as priorities.

Read more
16/03/2019 | Press release

Mozambique: Cyclone Idai leaves trail of devastation

Maputo/Nairobi/Geneva, 16 March 2019 – First reports from the central Mozambican city of Beira suggest that Tropical Cyclone Idai destroyed and damaged homes and knocked out electricity and communications. However, the full impact of the storm is still emerging. A team of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) aid workers is making its way to the city to assess damage and help establish a response operation. With flights to Beira not operating, the team is making the journey by road. Jamie LeSueur, Head of Emergency Operations for IFRC, is leading the team. He said: “The extent of the destruction remains unclear, but first-hand information provided by our local colleagues indicate that many parts of Beira have been seriously damaged. Houses have been destroyed, trees and electric poles have fallen. Electricity and communications have been cut.” Beira is Mozambique’s fourth largest city and is home to about 500,000 people. Information on the number of casualties, injuries or people made homeless is not yet available. Earlier estimates by the UN put over 600,000 people are at risk of exposure to the tropical cyclone winds categorized at causing wide-spread damage or even worse. While the situation in Mozambique is still unclear, reports from neighbouring Zimbabwe suggest that at least 24 people were killed and about 40 others are missing as a result of the storm. Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has deployed its volunteers to support affected communities in both Chipinge and Chimanimani. This cyclone follows a week of heavy rains and flooding across southeast Africa that has already killed at least 126 people in Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa. More than a million people have been affected in all. In Mozambique, the floods have already affected 117,000 people with more than 17,000 displaced. In neighbouring Malawi, nearly one million people have been affected including more than 80,000 who are without shelter. Both countries are prone to extreme weather events. Earlier this week, IFRC released more than 340,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support local Red Cross early warning and early action, and to prepare to support 7,500 people in the aftermath of the storm.

Read more
14/03/2019 | Press release

Widespread damage feared as Cyclone Idai approaches the Coast of Mozambique

Nairobi/Geneva, 14 March 2019 — With Tropical Cyclone Idai expected to make landfall in central Mozambique in about 12 hours, aid workers are warning that it could cause extensive damage and displace tens of thousands of people. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has just released more than 340,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to fund local preparedness efforts and to prepare to support 7,500 people in the aftermath of the storm. Jamie LeSeuer, Head of Emergency Operations for IFRC, is in Mozambique overseeing emergency preparedness efforts. He said: “Heavy rains have already displaced hundreds of people in provinces such as Zambesia and Tete. Many families urgently need temporary shelters, especially those whose houses have been completely or partly destroyed. We worry that the fast-approaching tropical cyclone will result in further devastation. “Our teams are on high alert and are in communities warning them of the approaching storm. They will also be crucial for any response efforts that are needed once Idai has passed.” In Tete and Zambesia, Mozambique Red Cross has mobilized more than 200 volunteers to share early warning information to at-risk communities. They are also providing rescue services to flood-affected people. In addition to the urgent need of emergency shelters, families whose houses have been completely destroyed will require emergency relief items, including blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, and mosquito nets to ensure that their immediate needs are met. There are also concerns about the long-term effects of the ongoing floods, as well as the imminent cyclone, in terms food security. Over 80,300 hectares of crops in Zambesia and Tete have been ravaged by the ongoing floods. This has severely affected the livelihoods of more than 50,000 families reliant on agriculture. The situation could get worse after tropical cyclone Idai makes landfall.

Read more
12/03/2019 | Press release

Mozambique: Emergency teams on alert as “dangerous and powerful” Tropical Cyclone Idai looms

Nairobi/Geneva, 12 March 2019 —Mozambique is on high alert as Tropical Cyclone Idai barrels towards the country’s central coast. Red Cross disaster response teams in Zambesia and Sofala provinces are readying response plans in anticipation of the cyclone’s landfall towards the end of the week. Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Regional Director for Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “This dangerous and powerful cyclone could pose an extreme risk to tens of thousands of people in Mozambique. Our teams are on high alert in anticipation of a potentially destructive landfall. “We encourage people in Mozambique to remain alert, to keep following weather forecasts, and to respond immediately to any warning messages that are relayed by authorities”. According to meteorologists, Idai’s intensity is equal to that of a Category 3 Atlantic hurricane. However, at its peak intensity, it may reach the equivalent of a Category 4 or even a Category 5 hurricane. Depending on its intensity and trajectory, Cyclone Idai could also exacerbate the situation in southern Malawi where more than 115,000 people have been affected by severe flooding. In Malawi, Red Cross search and rescue teams are ferrying people trapped by the rising water to safety, as well as distributing basic relief items in six of the worst-affected districts. Mozambique is regularly hit by cyclones. In February 2007, Cyclone Favio damaged or destroyed 130,000 homes and displaced tens of thousands of people. In 2000, Cyclone Eline hit an already flood-affected central Mozambique, leaving about 463,000 people homeless. Together, the floods and the cyclone killed about 700 people.

Read more