Mozambique, 27 January 2012: Two major storms strike Mozambique in quick succession, causing widespread damage
By Arild Drivdal
MAPUTO, Mozambique, 27 January 2012 – Mozambique faced a double disaster this month when both Tropical Storm Dando and Tropical Cyclone Funso struck coastal areas, leaving significant damage to homes and infrastructure.
The storms occurred in rapid succession, with Dando making landfall on 16 January and Funso striking only days later.
The storms’ rainfall caused widespread floods along coastal areas. North of Maputo, a 60- to 80-meter stretch of the main highway was washed away by the overflowing Incomati River, disrupting transportation and leaving people stranded.
Streets and houses were flooded in Maputo and Quelimane cities, and in some cases, swirling waters made it impossible to move from one neighborhood to the next. Low lying neighborhoods in Beira, the provincial capital of Sofala, were also flooded, forcing people to flee to higher ground.
At least 12,890 people in Zambezia Province were affected, and actual numbers may be higher. The province’s rural districts, including Pebane and Maganja da Costa, saw major damage to schools, homes, roads and cultivated lands. Nicoadala District was among the hardest hit, with 66 collapsed houses.
Flooding from Dando damaged 169 schools. Children’s education is often a less visible casualty of natural disasters; ensuring continuity of education after emergencies is a key priority for UNICEF.
An effective response
The National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) has been organizing the emergency response and coordinating relief efforts for both storms. Emergency response is being carried out by ‘clusters’ of organizations, including UNICEF, each addressing key areas such as education, health, water or sanitation.
The cluster-based system, and emergency preparedness efforts, resulted in a swift response, particularly compared to previous natural disasters. Still, damaged roads and lingering poor weather continue to hamper relief activities.
Humanitarian organizations are working together to meet the immediate needs of those affected, including shelter for those displaced, bed nets to protect against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and chlorine to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.
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