Aid out of reach

A review of the access to humanitarian aid for women and men, girls and boys with disabilities affected by Cyclone Idai.


On 15 March 2019 intense Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall near the city of Beira in Sofala province, Mozambique. It brought heavy rain that made rivers overflow their banks, causing enormous damage inland in the days following the cyclone. Idai left a trail of devastation, not only in Mozambique but also in the surrounding countries such as Malawi, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe. Thousands of persons perished or were injured, and many millions were displaced, most of which took place in Sofala province. It is estimated that over a hundred thousand women and men, girls, and boys with disabilities were affected by Idai.

Humanitarian aid was triggered immediately, with over four hundred organisations joining in the response and over one thousand aid workers being deployed to the affected areas of Mozambique.

To coordinate their presence, all actors were organised according to the humanitarian cluster system. Despite the huge international response, only about one thousand women and men, girls, and boys with disabilities received aid during the first month after the cyclone. This is merely one per cent, considering that an estimated total number of one hundred thousand people were aᴀected by the disaster. It therefore seems that humanitarian organisations still fail to address the needs of women and men, girls and boys with disabilities as part of their regular response activities, even though many existing international policy frameworks and conventions explicitly demand this. 

UNICEF and Light for the World
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