Dual emergencies hit Mozambique
Cyclone Favio brings more misery to people deluged since January
Mozambique, 27 February 2007 – With more than 70,000 Mozambican children already homeless after three week’s of severe flooding, UNICEF says that Friday’s cyclone which devastated coastal towns has greatly increased the threat for a growing number of children.
Government, UNICEF, other UN agencies and non-Government (NGO) partners were prepared for the flooding that destroyed the homes of at least 140,000 people, but following a second emergency (Cyclone Favio) in a matter of weeks, all partners are now faced with the challenge of dramatically scaling-up the collective response.
“It is rare for a country to be hit by two massive and simultaneous emergencies within such a short period of time,” said the Head of UNICEF in Mozambique, Leila Pakkala. “Mozambique responded quickly to the flooding, but there is no quick fix, and all our problems around water & sanitation, shelter, health, and education are now exacerbated by this severe cyclone.”
UNICEF – which has already spent US$3million on the competing emergencies, responding to the growing needs of populations now sheltered in camps – has deployed:
The UN Children’s Fund now says the rehabilitation of infrastructure, focusing on schools and hospitals, is a priority. When the eye of the cyclone hit the Mozambican mainland, the central hospital at Vilanculos was severely damaged and most wards were affected. Within hours of gaining access to the area UNICEF tents were erected and all patients (including surgery and maternity wards) were relocated and treatment has continued.
Cyclone Favio, which killed at least two children, has also damaged an estimated 220 classrooms, displacing thousands more children from the stability school offers during a crisis. In response UNICEF and partners have distributed 25,000 education kits for children, 2,800 kits for teachers and more than 30 tents to be used as temporary learning spaces.
“The next week is absolutely critical for those children who have lost homes, schools and are in danger of contracting diseases,” said UNICEF’s Pakkala. “The response has been express and effective, but it must be stressed that this can only continue while resources and actions on the ground are maintained.”
Current priorities for Government, United Nations and NGOs are to ensure water facilities are clean and serviceable, temporary health structures are functioning, children are back in school, and drugs and health equipment are delivered to all affected areas.
Cyclone in Mozambique
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Floods in Mozambique
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Related press releases
2007 Floods and Cyclone: humanitarian updates
Mozambique humanitarian situation update, 31 March-13 April 2007