Cyclone Idai: UNICEF warns of ‘race against time’ to protect children, prevent spread of disease in flood-ravaged Mozambique

UNICEF/UN0291728/Prinsloo In Beira in Mozambique, (left) UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore speaks with internally displaced people as she visits a secondary school used to shelter evacuees from Cyclone Idai.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


A week after the flooded Mozambican port of Beira was hit by Cyclone Idai, “aid agencies are barely beginning to see the scale of the damage”, the head of UNICEF said on Saturday, as she called for more international support to help quickly get relief to more than a million people across the country and prevent the possible spread of waterborne diseases like cholera.

We are in a race against time to help and protect children in the disaster-ravaged areas of Mozambique,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said at the end of a visit to Beira, one of the areas worst affected by Cyclone Idai.

According to initial Government estimates, 1.8 million people across the country, including 900,000 children, have been affected by the cyclone which slammed into the country last week. However, many areas are still not accessible and UNICEF and partners on the ground know that the final numbers will be much higher.

“The situation will get worse before it gets better,” Ms. Fore said, noting that as aid agencies get a clearer picture of the devastation, some have reported that entire villages have been submerged, buildings have been flattened, and schools and health care centers have been destroyed in the days since the storm struck.

“While the search and rescue operations continue, it is critical that we take all necessary measures to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases which can turn this disaster into a major catastrophe,” she warned.

UNICEF said it is concerned that flooding, combined with overcrowded conditions in shelters, poor hygiene, stagnant water and infected water sources, is putting them at risk of diseases like cholera, malaria and diarrhoea.

Initial assessments in Beira indicate that more than 2,600 classrooms have been destroyed and 39 health centers impacted. At least 11,000 houses have been totally destroyed. “This will have serious consequences on children’s education, access to health services, and mental wellbeing,” the UNICEF chief said.

In Beira, Ms. Fore visited a school which had turned into a shelter for displaced families. Classrooms were converted into overcrowded bedrooms with limited access to water and sanitation.

Safety of women and children a major concern

“We are particularly concerned about the safety and well-being of women and children who are still waiting to be rescued or are crammed in temporary shelters and at risk of violence and abuse,” she said, also raising concerns about children who were orphaned by the cyclone “or who became separated from their parents in the chaos that followed.”

Ms. Fore also visited a UNICEF warehouse which was severely damaged in the cyclone, causing the loss of essential supplies that had been pre-positioned before the cyclone made landfall.

Cyclone Idai started as a tropical depression in Malawi, where it forced families from their homes into churches, schools and public buildings. Nearly half a million children are affected. After Mozambique, the cyclone moved to Zimbabwe where it caused significant damage to schools and water systems.

“For children affected by Cyclone Idai, the road to recovery will be long,” Ms. Fore said. “They will need to regain access to health, education, water and sanitation. And they will need to heal from the deep trauma they have just experienced.”

She said that UNICEF teams are on the ground in the three countries helping children learn, play and heal, “but our resources are overstretched. We will initially need $30 million in the first stage of the response and look to our public and private donors to be generous to the thousands of children and families who need support.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How we overhauled healthcare amid Venezuela’s crisis

Is Germany yielding to pressures for more relaxed economic policies?

EU budget: Will Germany alone manage Britain’s gap?

Where EU air pollution is deadliest

EU: Centralised economic governance and bank supervision may lead to new crisis

On sidelines of UN climate summit, US President calls for protection of religious freedom

Comprehensive listening: a tool to humanize Primary Healthcare and medical specialties

FROM THE FIELD: Balancing act for Philippines farmers

The Junior Enterprise concept, one of the best ways to develop practical skills

Almost all businesses expect to face a crisis. And how they deal with them really counts

Changing for the change: Medicine in Industry 4.0

Another doomed EU attempt to interfere in Libya?

Making the move to more sustainable mobility – three steps for companies

State aid: Commission approves German scheme for very high capacity broadband networks in Bavaria

Engaging women and girls in science ‘vital’ for Sustainable Development Goals

Mechanism to protect democracy in the EU needed more than ever, says the EP

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

FROM THE FIELD: Stopping aquatic hitchhikers to safeguard environments at sea

‘Stay together and step up’ action to meet Global Goals, ECOSOC President tells development forum

Human rights chief calls for international probe on Venezuela, following ‘shocking accounts of extrajudicial killings’

Does the West play the Syrian game in Egypt?

South Sudan: €48.5 million in additional EU humanitarian aid

International Day of the Midwife: 5 things you should know

Doctors are humans too: the benefits of embracing your mental status

The Chinese film boom luring Hollywood’s stars

EU threatens Japan to suspend FTA negotiations if…

Ride-hailing apps are making the developing world’s traffic problems worse

China repels EU allegations of export subsidies

In Tunisia, budding entrepreneurs can take a year off their job

UN human rights chief denounces grave ‘assaults’ on fundamental rights of Palestinian people

Consumers suffer three defeats

Austerity ends in Eurozone, Germany is isolated

UN experts cite ‘possible exploitation’ of workers hired to clean up toxic Japanese nuclear plant

Smoking VS Vaping: is it a battle?

Inaction on obesity stands in the way of sustainable development

The Dead Sea is drying up, and these two countries have a plan to save it

How the future of computing can make or break the AI revolution

Big data is coming to agriculture. Farmers must set its course

GSMA Mobile 360 – MENA Dubai on 26-27 November 2019, in association with The European Sting

‘Eden bonds’: how rewilding could save the climate and your pension

Ebola in DR Congo: conflict zones could constitute ‘hiding places’ for the deadly virus – WHO chief

UN spotlights ‘explosive’ obesity rates, hunger in Latin America and Caribbean

Planet’s Health is Our Health and the Reverse is True

What the buoyant US economy means for the rest of the world

Addressing the consequences of digitalisation in the Russia & CIS region

Tax revenues have reached a plateau

Inclusion, equality a must for ‘long-lasting peace and sustainable development’, UN official tells high-level event in Baku

Meet the man who drove from the Netherlands to Australia without visiting a gas station

10 things you – and your government – should know about competitiveness in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

UN launches plan to promote peace, inclusive growth in Africa’s Sahel

Security Council calls for dialogue in Haiti

At last Germany to negotiate the costs for a really cohesive Eurozone

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: A European patent system can help European businesses lead industrial research and innovation on a global scale

Consumer protection: Commission welcomes political agreement by Council on the Representative Actions Directive

Haitian Foreign Minister calls for development reboot to close ‘striking gap’ between promises and action on ending poverty

UN Human Rights chief urges Venezuela to halt grave rights violations

Climate Change: A Healthcare Emergency

Financing the 2030 Agenda: What is it and why is it important?

‘Global sisterhood’ tells perpetrators ‘time is up’ for pandemic of violence

Election-related violence claims 85 lives in Afghanistan: UN report

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s