Cyclone IDAI -> Mozambique
There are very few news about damages and deaths in Mozambique. The reason is the damages to communication installations.
I expect it'll take about 3 to 4 more days to get an idea of what's occurred. The heavy rain over the inland areas to the west appears to ease off within about five days and go north, so will complicate recon flights until then. Plus the Beira airport will have been hammered plus no power. It’s a real pity so few grasped what happened, but how often does anyone hear news from Mozambique? So it'll be days before global media begin to wake up. If I was the Mozambique government I'd be making every possible effort to get the military to take media in there and get as much detailed footage as possible, so the awareness can be raised via video earlier.
I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit, before the storm was even passed-on some people asserted that it had all been a hyped-up non-event. I said it would be at least three days until we knew if New Orleans was OK. And it took three days for the failed levee news and video of the breach and flooding to emerge. Even modern countries with massive resources take three days to re-establish recon and basic emergency communications again after a major cyclone, so I'd give Mozambique most of a week here, especially given the storm remnant remains close. As we said before the landfall, it’s an ugly situation.
This is going to be quite some flood, the area was already wet down a week before the cyclone hit and most of this new rain will fall within the next 5 days. It appears to be backing-out the way that it was originally forecast too move ENE (i.e. about 7 days back at the top of the thread).
Gkikas LGPZ last edited by
100% of buildings in the city have been damaged and a huge number of those destroyed.
Beira looks like a 'war zone' after cyclone Idai: rescue team
18 March 2019 - 08:22
By Nico Gous
Beira in Mozambique looks like a “war zone” in the aftermath of cyclone Idai, which claimed at least 100 lives. That is what Dylan Meyrick from IPSS Medical Rescue wrote on Facebook on Sunday evening.
“Beira resembles a war zone! 100% of buildings in the city have been damaged and a huge number of those destroyed. The local population living in the rural areas have been hardest hit. Entire villages have been washed away. It has been humbling to see how these people have lost the very little that they had but are resilient and are determined to survive,” Meyrick said.
“There is no electricity and as a result infrequent water, no cellular service and no internet. The EN6 which is the only road in and out of Beira has been destroyed by flood waters about 70km from the city. This morning we estimated that up to 2,000 people need rescuing as the flood waters continue to rise.”
Cyclone Idai has wrecked havoc across Mozambique and Zimbabwe, leaving 400,000 people displaced. Rescue teams have worked up to 18 hours a day, Meyrick said. “It has been a life-changing experience for the members to have to decide who to rescue and who to leave behind. In a profession where they have to deal with situations on a daily basis that no person should, this is probably the most difficult that we have encountered.”
Another report from late yesterday:
Cyclone Idai claims 48 lives in Mozambique, 39 in Zimbabwe
Africa / 17 March 2019, 4:52pm
UN World Food Program kicks off from a very low-base and a huge need.
UN standing with Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique during Cyclone
Monday, 18 March 2019, 3:34 pm
Press Release: UN News
"... According to the World Food Programme (WFP), preliminary projections indicate that at least 1.7 million people were affected in the direct-path of the cyclone in Mozambique, with a further 920,000 in Malawi. A spokesperson for WFP said on Sunday that teams had been active on the ground in all three countries, planning to target around 650,000 with food assistance in Malawi, and 600,000 in Mozambique. ... WFP said it would be scaling-up provision of life-saving services for the treatment of moderate-acute malnutrition in children up to 5-years of age, in communities affected by the cyclone. A WFP plane with 20 tons of emergency food assistance arrived this weekend in Mozambique; 30 WFP funded boat pilots were mobilized, and staff and material have been deployed in Beira, Zambezia and Tete. In the coming days , WFP said it will be able to scale up the response with larger distribution of food."
Indian Navy sends three ships
India to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) support to Mozambique
March 18, 2019
In response to a request from the Republic of Mozambique that is hit by a tropical cyclone ‘IDAI’ of Category 4, causing loss of lives and severe damage to properties in Central and Northern part of Mozambique, Government of India has decided to divert three Indian Naval Ships (INS Sujatha, INS Shardul & INS Sarathi) to the port city of Beira to provide immediate Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the affected people. Indian Naval Ships will provide relief material in the form of food, clothes and medicine to the affected people. In addition, the ships have 3 medical practitioners and 5 nurses to provide immediate medical help.
In this hour of tragedy, Government of India stands ready to extend support to the affected people. India has been extending humanitarian assistance to Mozambique and had provided 10 million dollars for food grains in 2017, after it suffered food shortage as a result of natural calamities.
March 18, 2019
Cyclone Idai death toll in Mozambique 'could rise above 1,000'
President says scale of disaster is huge, as Red Cross says most of Beira damaged or destroyed
Associated Press in Johannesburg
Tue 19 Mar 2019 02.07 AEDT
First published on Mon 18 Mar 2019 11.40 AEDT
The number of people killed in Tropical Cyclone Idai and recent flooding in Mozambique could rise above 1,000, the country’s president has said, as the Red Cross said up to 90% of the port city of Beira had been damaged or destroyed.
Filipe Nyusi told the state broadcaster Radio Mozambique that although the official death count stood at 84, he believed the toll would rise to more than 1,000. The scale of the disaster was “huge”, he said, adding he had seen bodies floating in rivers while flying over the affected region.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said Beira had been battered by the cyclone, cutting off electricity, closing the airport and severing road access to the city of 500,000 people.
Idai hit Beira last week before moving inland and spreading heavy winds and rain to Zimbabwe and Malawi. More than 215 people have been confirmed killed across all the affected countries, while hundreds more are missing and more than 1.5 million people have been affected by the widespread destruction and flooding, according to the Red Cross and government officials.
An aerial shot of Beria made available by the IFRC on Monday. Photograph: Caroline Haga/AP
The scale of the damage to Beira was “massive and horrifying”, said Jamie LeSueur, who led a Red Cross aerial assessment of the city. The team viewed the city by helicopter because roads were flooded. “The situation is terrible. The scale of devastation is enormous. It seems that 90% of the area is completely destroyed,” he said. With Beira airport closed, the team drove from Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, before taking a helicopter for the last part of the journey.
“Almost everything is destroyed. Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible,” LeSueur said.
“Beira has been severely battered. But we are also hearing that the situation outside the city could be even worse. On Sunday, a large dam burst and cut off the last road to the city.”
The storm struck Beira late on Thursday and moved westward into Zimbabwe and Malawi. At least 126 people died in Mozambique and Malawi, according to the Red Cross. In Zimbabwe, 89 people died from the floods, the information ministry said.
Both Nyusi and the Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, returned from foreign trips to attend to the emergencies caused by the storm. Mnangagwa returned home from the United Arab Emirates “to make sure he is involved directly with the national response by way of relief to victims of Cyclone Idai”, the information ministry said. The Zimbabwean government declared a state of national disaster.
UN agencies and the Red Cross were helping with rescue efforts that include delivering food supplies and medicines by helicopter.
More than 1,000 feared dead in Mozambique storm
Mission Aviation Fellowship/AFP / Rick EMENAKET
March 18th, 2019
… "For the moment we have registered 84 deaths officially, but when we flew over the area ... this morning to understand what's going on, everything indicates that we could register more than 1,000 deaths,"Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi said in a nationwide address. …
A large dam burst on Sunday and cut off the last road to Beira, he said. Sofala Province governor Alberto Mondlane warned that the "biggest threat we have now, even bigger than the cyclone, is floods because it’s raining more and more". Emma Beaty, coordinator of a grouping of NGOs known as Cosaco, said: "We've never had something of this magnitude before in Mozambique". Many people in the Beira region fled for their lives or took to the rooftops as the floodwaters rose. "Some dams have broke, and others have reached full capacity, they'll very soon open the flood gates. It's a convergence of flooding, cyclones, dams breaking and making a potential wave: everything's in place so we get a perfect storm," she said.
Mozambique's environment minister, Celso Correia, has also warned that the death tally would rise. "I think this is the biggest natural disaster Mozambique has ever faced. Everything is destroyed," he told AFP on Sunday night at Beira international airport, which re-opened after being temporarily closed because of cyclone damage.
"Flying roofing sheets beheaded people," Rajino Paulino recounting the moment the cyclone smashed into the city. "We are sleeping rough, we are eating poorly and we don't have houses anymore." It swept away homes and ripped bridges to pieces, leaving destruction that the acting defence minister, Perrance Shiri, said "resembles the aftermath of a full-scale war". "There was a lot of destruction both on our facilities and on people," said Shiri speaking on television from the affected eastern highlands region.
Some roads were swallowed up by massive sinkholes, while bridges were ripped to pieces by flash floods, according to an AFP photographer. "This is the worst infrastructural damage we have ever had," Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said. The eastern district of Chimanimani was worst-hit, with houses and most of the region's bridges washed away by flash floods. The most affected areas are not yet accessible, and high winds and dense clouds have hampered military rescue helicopter flights.
Joshua Sacco, lawmaker for Chimanimani, told AFP that between "150 to 200 people" are missing. The majority of them are thought to be government workers, whose housing complex was completely engulfed by raging waters. Their fate is currently unknown because the area is still unreachable. "We are very worried because all these houses were just suddenly submerged under water and literally washed away and that is where we have about 147 missing," he said.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who cut short a visit to Abu Dhabi, said on arrival on Monday, "we are deeply grieved as a nation". But the government has come under fire for failing to move timesously to evacuate people. The main labour movement,the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said the disaster was avoidable. "Authorities knew about the cyclone weeks before it struck, but did absolutely nothing to prepare for its eventuality," it said in
Initial video of flooding:
So it begins ...
UK pledges £6m of aid for hundreds of thousands hit by cyclone in Mozambique and Malawi
Tuesday 19 March 2019 01:04
The Evening Standard
Britain has pledged up to £6 million of aid to send humanitarian relief to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Malawi.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said a team of experts was on the ground in Mozambique helping to co-ordinate the UK's response. Filipe Nyusi, the president of Mozambique, said more than 1,000 people are feared dead in the country four days after the cyclone hit. Tents and thousands of shelter kits will be sent to the country on Tuesday, and Ms Mordaunt said the UK stands ready to "scale up our support if needed". ...
Ms Mordaunt said: "I have made £6 million of UK aid available to help meet the immediate needs of people who have lost everything. "We have deployed a UK team of Dfid experts who are now on the ground in Mozambique helping to co-ordinate the UK's response to this disaster, and we hope to have vital UK aid supplies in the region shortly. We stand ready to scale up our support if needed. "The images of loss and devastation following this deadly cyclone and extreme weather are shocking. The people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe should know that they are firmly in our thoughts at this difficult time, and that the UK stands by their side."
Cyclone Idai made landfall close to the port city of Beira on Thursday with winds of up to 106 mph, but aid teams only reached the city on Sunday.
Images from CNN:
More images at source: https://us.cnn.com/2019/03/18/world/gallery/cyclone-idai-gallery/index.html
Cyclone Idai: 1,000 people may be dead, says Mozambique president
By Clyde Hughes and Darryl Coote
Updated March 18, 2019 at 10:42 PM
March 18 (UPI) -- Cyclone Idai may have killed a 1,000 people in Mozambique, President Filipe Nyusi said, and 100,000 more are still at risk. …
Nyusi fears the death toll for his country will skyrocket after having taken a flight over affected areas and seen bodies floating in flooded towns. "The waters of the Pungue and Buzi overflowed their banks making entire villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating," he said. "A real disaster of great proportions."
Making matters worse is the U.N. is projecting heavy rainfall until Thursday for Sofala and Manica provinces, which have already been devastated as a bridge over the Buzi River that connected several districts in both provinces with the rest of the country has been destroyed. The National Directorate of Water Resources is recommending people in flood-prone areas to evacuate to higher ground immediately. …
The city remains cut-off from the surrounding areas as the storm has rendered major roads impassable, according to the U.N. … Mozambique information minister Nick Mangwawa said the army and air force have been deployed for rescue efforts, as have private and public ambulances.
About 24 hrs from now the remnant is shown to exit eastwards in almost the same location where the eye-wall first made contact with land (as ECMWF had originally predicted) then it dissipates fairly quickly to the NE (also as originally predicted by the ECMWF model).
Cyclone Idai Poised to Become Southern Hemisphere’s Deadliest Tropical Storm, With More Than 1,000 Feared Dead
Today 1:30pm [posted here morning of March 20th 2019]
… Cyclone Idai is on track to becoming the deadliest tropical cyclone on record for the Southern Hemisphere. The deadliest storm on record in the Southern Hemisphere is Cyclone Leon-Eline in 2000, which killed some 800 people in this same region, …
... A tropical disturbance over land dumped one to two feet of rain over Mozambique some two weeks back, with one station recording 11 inches in just 12 hours March 7, he said. Once that disturbance moved over the water, Cyclone Idai formed. …
“Cyclone Idai underlines that no matter how effective early warnings are, there is still a huge demand for greater investment in resilient infrastructure in many parts of the world if we are to break the cycle of disaster-response-recovery,” said United Nations Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori, in a statement.
BBC rescue video here:
New York Times has created some useful maps recording the affected area – word is finally beginning to get out about this storm’s terrible aftermath.
Mapping the Destruction of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique
By WEIYI CAI, ALLISON MCCANN and JUGAL K. PATEL
MARCH 19, 2019
… The storm made landfall about two weeks ago near Quelimane, a city about 190 miles northeast of Beira, as a tropical depression with torrential rain. Wind speeds were only around 40 miles per hour, and after a few days, the storm changed course and moved back into the ocean. … Over the past week, the storm rapidly strengthened — wind speeds picked up to about 70 miles per hour as the storm headed back in the direction of Mozambique.
On Thursday night, the cyclone struck Mozambique for a second time. This time, however, the storm barreled toward Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, … The storm destroyed “90 percent” of Beira, a city of about a half-million people, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Monday. Aerial footage showed people huddled on dry areas, waiting to be rescued. Mr. Nyusi said that overflowing rivers had submerged villages and isolated communities. He reported seeing floating bodies.
The current situation:
There may be nothing that can be done about millions of people living in swampy river deltas and on major flood plains, but Governments can engineer and build dams, roads, bridges and rail connections that won't be totally demolished by a major flood, and which people can evacuate along.
- I've begun to notice that the usual-suspects are already touting a CO2 induced greenhouse-effect as causation for this TC IDAI weather event within news reports. The coastline in areas north and south of Beira are littered with numerous geomorphological scars from prior and much larger cyclonic storm-surge deposits, erosion scours, and scars of associated major river flooding events. These scars all record significantly higher-energy storm events than this one, and they've been accumulating during the past thousand years or so. Such landform scars from earlier colossal cyclonic storms are Earth's 'early-warning' system. It's showing us that major tropical cyclonic storms which are significantly stronger events, are a normal part of the spectrum of weather possibilities for this coastline. In other words, the scale of Cyclone IDAI is anything but unique, 'new' or novel along the Mozambique channel coast. On the contrary, larger and more damaging storms have and will again take place in this same general area. Playing cheap games with severe weather events and breeding ignorance of them is IMHO, a very low act. I have little or no respect for unbalanced individuals or organizations who do it.
Finally the weather from TC IDAI has cleared to the NE.
Beira foreshore drone video at link:
Cyclone Idai: Death toll exceeds 500 as frantic rescue operation underway
The death toll in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi has exceeded 500, while 15,000 people still need rescuing.
Updated 1 hour ago
The death toll from Cyclone Idai that hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe has surpassed 500, and there are hundreds more feared dead. Rescue workers plucked more survivors from trees and roofs to safety on Thursday, a week after a cyclone ripped through southern Africa and triggered devastating floods that have killed hundreds of people and displaced hundreds of thousands. Helicopters whirred above the turbid, reddish-brown flood waters searching for people to ferry back to the port city of Beira, the main headquarters for the huge rescue operation in Mozambique. The death toll in that country was now 242, Land and Environment Minister Celso Correia said, adding that the number of dead was rising as rescue workers found bodies that had been hidden by now-receding floodwaters. Correia told a news conference earlier that around 15,000 people, many of them very ill, still need to be rescued. “Our biggest fight is against the clock,” he said, adding that 3,000 people had been rescued so far.
In neighboring Zimbabwe, the death toll from Cyclone Idai jumped to 259. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), which is coordinating food drops, said 200,000 Zimbabweans would need urgent food aid for three months. In Malawi 56 people were confirmed dead. “This is a human catastrophe of the highest order,” businessman Graham Taylor told Reuters, saying he had seen “hundreds of bodies that had been washed up by the floodwater” while trying to return home after visiting his son in Beira. “What struck me first was the number of people on the rooftops and in trees. You could hear communities shouting for help - for hours, for days,” said Taylor, who also described meeting people on the badly damaged highways heading toward the devastated areas in search of family members. “It was a humbling experience,” he said. “I saw no sign of government assistance.”
Even when people are safely out of the floods, the situation is dire. Some 30 percent of the 88 centers set up by the government for displaced people still have no food, Environment Minister Correia said. Mozambique’s National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) said some 358,000 hectares of crops had been destroyed. Thirty-nine hospitals had been damaged, it said.
A priority for Thursday was pushing into flooded areas that had not yet been surveyed, said Connor Hartnady, leader of a South African rescue task force. Rescuers also want to move people from a basketball stadium near the Buzi River - one of the worst affected areas - to a village on higher ground, where aid organizations are setting up a temporary camp with a capacity of up to 600, he said. Days after the disaster struck, aid agencies were struggling to meet the needs of displaced people.
UN launches appeal
The UN launched an appeal for assistance overnight. "We do not yet know enough about the level of destruction to give an accurate estimate of the amount of this call for funds, but it will be important," spokesman Farhan Haq said at UN headquarters in New York. Aid agencies said they were prepared for the cyclone but not for the massive floods that followed.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said it was sending two emergency units to Beira that would provide drinking water for up to 15,000 people and sanitation facilities for 20,000 people, as well as shelter kits. “More help is needed, and we are continuing to do all we can to bring in more resources and to reach more people,” said Jamie LeSueur, the IFRC’s operations head in Mozambique.
The WFP stepped up airdrops of high-energy biscuits and water purification tablets to isolated pockets of people stranded by the floodwaters.
The US military stands ready to help the cyclone rescue effort, a representative of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said, according to the minutes of a humanitarian meeting held on Wednesday. China, a major investor in Mozambique, also expressed its willingness to help, Portugal’s Lusa news agency reported.
The Christian charity Tearfund said the timing of the floods was disastrous, with harvesting due to start in coming weeks. Even before the floods, 5.3 million people had been experiencing food shortages, said its Zimbabwe director, Earnest Maswera. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, who declared three days of national mourning starting on Wednesday, has said the eventual death toll from the cyclone and ensuing floods could rise to more than 1,000.
Mozambique’s tiny $13 billion economy is still recovering from a currency collapse and debt default.
The cyclone knocked out Mozambican electricity exports to South Africa, exacerbating power cuts that are straining businesses in Africa’s most industrialized economy.
Cyclone Idai: Africa now has an 'inland ocean' where villages once stood
A week after Cyclone Idai hit coastal Mozambique and swept across the country to Zimbabwe, the death, damage and flooding continues in southern Africa, making it one of the most destructive natural disasters in the region's recent history. Floodwaters are rushing across the plains of central Mozambique, submerging homes, villages and entire towns. The flooding has created a muddy inland ocean 50 kilometers wide where there used to be farms and villages, giving credence to Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi's estimate that 1,000 people may have been killed.
'We're hoping to rescue as many as we can'
Torrential rains lifted — at least temporarily — Thursday, and floodwaters began to recede in Beira, the worst-hit city, and in the countryside, according to a Mozambican government report. Aid groups were working non-stop to rescue families clinging to tree branches and rooftops for safety from the surging waters. "Yesterday, 910 people were rescued by the humanitarian community," said Caroline Haga of the International Federation of the Red Cross in Beira. She said 210 were rescued by five helicopters and 700 were saved by boats. "We're hoping to rescue as many as we can today as it is not raining," she said. "Rescue activities will continue until everyone is brought to safety." Aid organizations are trying to get food, water and clothing. It will be days before Mozambique's inundated plains drain toward the Indian Ocean and even longer before the full scale of the devastation is known.
Zimbabwe's eastern mountains have been deluged and the rain is continuing. Aid has been slow to reach affected villagers due to collapsed infrastructure, although the military has been handing out small packets of cooking oil, maize meal and beans. Zimbabwean officials have said some 350 people may have died in their country. The force of the flood waters swept some victims from Zimbabwe down the mountainside into Mozambique, officials said.
With the search for survivors finished, Philemon Dada is has begun rebuilding his life in Chimanimani, once a picturesque town. With a machete and a hoe, he began salvaging poles from the mud to construct a hut to shelter his small family, a first step in what he sees as a long and backbreaking journey to rebuild a life shattered by Cyclone Idai. He is one of many villagers trying to pick up the pieces in Chimanimani after losing homes, livestock and, in many instances, family members. Some have been taken in by neighbors and others are sheltering with church pastors. "I can say I am a bit lucky, my wife and son are still here with me but for everything else, I have to start from scratch," he said. Dada has a few food items handed out by the Zimbabwe military, but he knows that like most aid it is unlikely to last long, and he is eager to start growing crops again. Like many people here, he survives on agriculture. **"My bean crop was ready for harvesting before the cyclone, the maize was close. I am back to zero," **he said. He is particularly pained by his two prized bulls that did the heavy work of drawing the plow for his field. They were killed in the floods. "It may take a year, maybe even more years just to get back on my feet," he said.
China to provide humanitarian aid to cyclone-hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi
Xinhua, March 22, 2019
The China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) Thursday said in Beijing that China will provide humanitarian assistance to cyclone-hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Without unveiling the details about the assistance, CIDCA spokesperson Tian Lin said the Chinese side expresses condolences to the affected people and is ready to offer a hand for the reconstruction work in the cyclone-stricken countries according to the needs of the affected areas. At least 360 people have been confirmed dead in the wake of Cyclone Idai's sweep through southern Africa, according to a UN spokesperson on Wednesday.
News from Mozambique of cyclone IDAI's aftermath:
Cyclone Idai: Helicopters struggle to deliver aid after roads washed off the map
By John Sparks, Africa correspondent, in Mozambique
Friday 22 March 2019 22:48, UK
The aid workers and emergency responders gathering in the central Mozambican city of Beira know exactly what to do when hundreds of thousands of people lack basic necessities like food, shelter and clean water. The problem in Mozambique is getting the aid to the people who need it. Helicopters and light aircraft are the only practical way to move supplies in this part of the country because main roads and secondary thoroughfares have been washed out - or lie under metres of dirty, brown floodwater.
However, there are simply not enough helicopters to do the job. I spoke to one highly regarded search and rescue organisation who said they are going home because they cannot get the transport they need. The team from the World Food Programme have access to a Soviet-era chopper and we flew with them as they prepared to deliver family sized tents, emergency meals and medicines to the people of a community called Nhamatanda. First, we had to cross the giant inland sea that has been created by Cyclone Idai as well as five-or-so days of torrential rain, and we soon realised that the precipitation has not stopped.
Our captain deftly steered around thunder clouds and rain showers as we headed to our destination in the northwest. The weather wasn't the only complication. Nhamatanda is surrounded by floodwater and the pilots were struggling to find it. The water had swallowed up all the landmarks on their maps. With fuel running low the crew had little choice and they decided to return to base. This is an occupation hazard in a disaster zone and the crew took it in their stride, equipping themselves with a new set of co-ordinates and taking off once more for Nhamatanda. This time we found it and I could see several residents standing on an ad-hoc landing zone waving homemade flags.
By the time we touched down, thousands of people had arrived to greet us. The excitement was understandable - this was the first aid delivery to reach the community. "We're in a really bad situation," said one woman as she was jostled by the crowd. "We don't have anything to cover us and everything's in water, including our food."
Our helicopter was swiftly unloaded in front of an expectant audience, but it was clear that our cargo was not enough. More than 10,000 families in the area have lost their homes. "When is the last time you had a proper meal?" I asked a young man called Manucho Jacob. "It was last week that I had food." "Are people angry, are they frustrated?" I inquired. "They're angry and they're disappointed. There's no hope for them."
Tomé José is the administrator who runs the district and told me he was feeling the pressure - he simply can't meet people's basic needs. "We need more (aid than this), because we're not talking only about these residents, but everybody in the district. There are people in other areas we still can't reach. We can't bring them food by car."
Delivering aid by helicopter is not the best solution in a crisis - lorries carry a much bigger load. But in flood-hit Mozambique, this is the only way to keep people alive.
To donate to the DEC emergency appeal, visit their website, call the 24-hour hotline 0370 60 60 610, donate at any bank or Post Office or give £5 by texting SKY to 70000.
Death Toll in Africa Climbs Past 600 After Cyclone
By The Associated Press
March 22, 2019
With the flooding easing in parts of cyclone-stricken Mozambique on Friday, fears are rising that the waters could yield many more bodies. The confirmed number of people killed in Mozambique and neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi climbed past 600.
Eight days after Cyclone Idai struck southeast Africa’s Indian Ocean coast, touching off some of the worst flooding in decades, the homeless, hungry and injured slowly made their way from devastated inland areas to the port city of Beira, which was heavily damaged itself but has emerged as the nerve center for rescue efforts. “Some were wounded. Some were bleeding,” said Julia Castigo, a Beira resident who watched them arrive. “Some had feet white like flour for being in the water for so long.”
Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the relief efforts so far “are nowhere near the scale and magnitude of the problem,” and the humanitarian needs are likely to grow in the coming weeks and months. “We should brace ourselves,” he said.
Helicopters set off into the rain for another day of efforts to find people clinging to rooftops and trees. Pedro Matos, emergency coordinator for the World Food Program, said rescuers are sometimes spotting “just a hut completely surrounded by water.”
With water and sanitation systems largely destroyed, waterborne diseases are a growing concern. “The situation is simply horrendous. There is no other way to describe it,” Mr. As Sy said after touring camps for the displaced. “Three thousand people who are living in a school that has 15 classrooms and six, only six, toilets. You can imagine how much we are sitting on a water and sanitation ticking bomb.”
The death toll in Mozambique rose to 293, with an untold number of people missing and the mortuary at Beira’s central hospital already reported full. Deaths could soar beyond the 1,000 predicted by the country’s president earlier this week, Mr. As Sy said. The number of dead was put at 259 in Zimbabwe and 56 in Malawi.
Mozambique's Nyusi Travels to Cyclone-ravaged Coast
March 22, 2019 7:11 PM
MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE —
The president of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, has visited the country's coastal Buzi district, one of the areas most damaged by Cyclone Idai. Nyusi flew over the Buzi district Friday afternoon to get a bird's-eye view of what is considered the country's worst natural disaster in the last 50 years. The district is almost entirely under water after Mozambique's coast was slammed last week. Winds of 160 kilometers per hour (100 mph) and floodwaters six meters (10 feet) deep swamped Mozambique's coast, killing hundreds of people and leaving tens of thousands stranded on high ground and rooftops. Nyusi told residents in the area the government was doing everything it could to rescue those trapped and assist those who lost their homes. He said the major concern of the government was to rescue people surrounded by water and to provide food, clean water and shelter.
Nyusi said he spoke to Angola's president, João Lourenço, who promised to send about 100 doctors to provide medical aid and help avoid the risk of disease outbreaks such as cholera and malaria. Government buildings in the area have been transformed into shelters for Mozambique's flood victims.
Nyusi visited some of the evacuation centers to assess conditions, offer condolences and promise more help. The leader called for unity, and urged all Mozambicans to send support. Nyusi offered thanks for the compassion shown by countless countries that have sent support. These include members of the Southern African Development Community and the European Union, as well as Brazil, Britain, China and India, among others. Nyusi thanked those who have saved lives and given food and clothing to cyclone victims. He is scheduled to visit other areas of the country affected by the devastating floods. The death toll from the storm stood at 293 but was expected to increase.
More than £8million raised in one day: Generous Britons dig deep after cyclone devastates Mozambique where death toll could pass 1,000
By Sam Greenhill for the Daily Mail
Published: 11:16 AEDT, 23 March 2019 | Updated: 11:18 AEDT, 23 March 2019
Generous Britons raised an astonishing £8 million on the first day of the Cyclone Idai appeal – but more is needed to prevent a humanitarian disaster, charities say. Half a million people are at dire risk of disease as receding floodwaters reveal the horrors of bodies and ruined homes.
A week after Cyclone Idai smashed into the coast of Mozambique, UK aid is beginning to reach stricken families who have lost everything. The British public has responded magnificently to the appeal launched on Thursday by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group of 14 aid agencies. They put in £6 million and the Government matched pound-for-pound the first £2 million – taking the first-day total to £8 million. The Queen and Prince Charles were among those to give money. Now the Treasury has agreed to match a further £2 million, meaning the next donors to pledge cash will see their contributions doubled. So far the UK has sent 7,500 shelter kits and 100 family tents to Mozambique. Tomorrow, a plane carrying forklift trucks and other equipment will fly to the region.
It is feared thousands may have perished when the 105mph tropical storm lashed Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, sweeping floodwaters 30 miles inland and turning homes, villages and farmland into squalid lakes. Some 2.6 million survivors urgently need help. They include 3,000 found sheltering on the roof of a school that has just six toilets.
DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: ‘We are extremely grateful for the huge generosity of everyone in the UK who has donated. ‘The situation across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe remains desperate, with thousands still to be brought to safety, and many more in need of food, medical attention, clean water and shelter. Every hour counts in the race to save lives.’ International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: ‘We are only just beginning to see the true impact of this devastating cyclone.
UK aid is now in the region worst hit by the cyclone. ‘It is right that the UK, the biggest global donor and one of the first to respond to the crisis, does all it can to provide life-saving assistance to those desperately in need.’
There are thought to be 15,000 stranded people ‘in bad shape’, many of them on rooftops or stuck in trees, Mozambican minister Celso Correia said. The UN has warned that Cyclone Idai could prove to be the worst weather-related disaster ever to strike the Southern Hemisphere.
Humanitarian agencies are desperately worried about the spread of malaria and cholera. ‘We are running out of time, it is at a critical point here,’ Unicef chief Henrietta Fore said. ‘There’s stagnant water, decomposing bodies, and lack of good hygiene and sanitation. We are worried about cholera, about malaria, because of the stagnant water.’
Mozambique news update.
Aid increases to thousands of displaced people in Mozambique after Cyclone Idai
The Associated Press
Published March 25, 2019
Updated March 25, 2019
Evacuees from Buzi village carry their belongings as they arrive at a displacement centre near the airport, in Beira, Mozambique, on March 25, 2019.
Authorities in Mozambique say that with a key road open to the badly damaged city of Beira, conditions on the ground improving and more international help arriving, vital aid to those hit by Cyclone Idai should now flow more freely. Cyclone Idai’s death toll has risen above 750 in the three southern African countries hit 10 days ago by the storm, as workers rush to restore electricity, water and try to prevent outbreak of cholera. In Mozambique the number of dead has risen to 446 while there are 259 dead in Zimbabwe and at least 56 dead in Malawi for a three-nation total of 761.
The death toll is “very preliminary,” said Mozambique’s environment minister, Celso Correia, who said it is expected to rise.
The U.S. military will join the number of international aid groups assisting in providing food and medical care to those affected by the massive cyclone, one of the worst natural disasters in southern Africa in recent history. Some 228,000 displaced people are now in camps across the vast flooded area of Mozambique, said Correia, who is the government’s disaster co-ordinator, briefing journalists on Monday. It is still too early to give a number of missing, he said. Diarrhea is reported in camps but he says it is too early to say whether it is cholera. He has said that it is almost certain that the deadly disease will emerge.
Aid teams are going to high points on islands created by Cyclone Idai and finding “a lot of people,” Correia said. Until all areas can be reached and assessed, it is impossible to say the disaster response effort has turned a corner, he said. When asked by journalists about people found sheltering in a school along the newly opened main road to Beira who said they had not eaten since the storm, Correia said the aid had to be prioritized according to necessity. At least they were found and aid is coming, he said. “They can still hang on for a few days.”
Correia defended Mozambique’s storm warning system, asserting that people knew weeks in advance that trouble was coming. More than 300,000 people were warned in advance, he said. “All reports say the system worked,” he said. Some residents of Beira and Buzi, however, have said they had heard nothing to indicate the scale of the cyclone and were shocked by the quickly rising waters, and some have expressed anger at the government for not giving more warning. Mozambique’s former president, Joachim Chissano, was at the press briefing and said authorities “did what they could” to warn residents. Chissano added that it would take three years to rebuild the city of Beira.
Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, deputy director of the UN Humanitarian operation, told reporters that “a lot more assistance” should be seen by Tuesday as more aid arrives at staging areas such as the Beira airport. He confirmed the reports of diarrhea in camps. “It’s a killer,” he said. He said the government is repairing key roads just enough to allow aid and other trucks to have access, with repair crews on hand when problems arise. They are being repaired “for now, and that’s good enough,” Stampa said. One bright spot amid the hurried response efforts is the weather, which on Monday morning in Beira was dry, partly cloudy and hot. With no rains, the flooded areas should be able to drain. “I’m pretty confident in the weather,” Stampa said. “It’s the only thing I’m confident about.”
The United States military says President Donald Trump has directed it to support relief efforts to help Mozambique with the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai more than a week ago. The U.S. Africa Command statement comes three days after Mozambique’s government made a formal request to the international community for aid. The southern Africa nation earlier declared a national disaster as its president said deaths from the cyclone could reach 1,000. Confirmed deaths are now close to 450. The U.S. statement says AFRICOM provides disaster relief “when it has unique capabilities that can be utilized in the U.S. Government’s response.” It says the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa will lead the U.S. military efforts and that its initial assessments have begun at the scene of the disaster.
Chinese rescue team arrives in Mozambique amid rising number of cyclone affected people
Xinhua, March 25, 2019
The number of people affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique has risen to 794,000, Mozambican government announced on Monday in Beira, Sofala province in Central Mozambique, adding up to 128,941 have already been rescued.
The deaths toll remains at 446, according to the Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development Celso Correia, who spoke at a press conference, stressing that the rescue teams have not yet finished searches at all affected sites. Correia said there were already cases of diarrhea reported in some accommodation centers, but the health system is assisting people, and the government is working with partners to make the mitigation plan more efficient.
Asked by Xinhua about the stage of donations and rescues, the minister said the priority is to save lives by delivering food and providing medical care. "We have support in donations and rescue teams that continue to arrive, but now the Institute for Disaster Management is making strategic management," said Correia. "It was exactly the kind of help we need, basically in the field of health, environmental sanitation, among other supports." On Monday morning a group of 65 members from Chinese rescue team arrived at Beira International Airport, followed by some 20 tonnes of equipment and materials for search and rescue, communications and medical treatment.
Minister Correia said that emergency operations are becoming more organized and with targeted approaches, being able to provide quick responses in a timely way.
At the request of Mozambique, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated to help those affected by the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai.
EU Reporter Correspondent | March 25, 2019
Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Commissioner Christos Stylianides said: “Mozambique is not alone in these difficult times. More EU support is on its way. We are working 24/7 to deliver essential supplies and save lives. We are also sending EU humanitarian experts to the affected areas to co-ordinate our assistance. I thank our member states for their generous support. This is EU solidarity in action.”
In an immediate response, the Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre has already received offers of assistance from Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom through the Mechanism. The assistance offered includes water purification equipment, Emergency Medical Teams, tents and shelter equipment, hygiene kits, food and mattresses and satellite telecommunications for humanitarian workers on the ground. Furthermore, a team of 10 experts from seven Member States (Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, and Slovenia) will be sent to Mozambique to help with logistics and advice.
This additional assistance comes on top of the €3.5 million in EU humanitarian aid already announced earlier this week for Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe as well as €250,000 provided to Mozambique and Malawi Red Cross Societies. The EU’s Copernicus satellite mapping services are also being used to help local authorities working on the ground.
Mozambique Cholera Cases Shoot Up As Health Workers Try To Improve Treatment Centres
03/29/2019 10:31 EDT | Updated 12 minutes ago
Officials say the disease can have a "huge impact" if it's not contained quickly.
Associated Press via CP
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
JOHANNESBURG — Cholera cases in Mozambique among survivors of a devastating cyclone have shot up to 139, officials said, as nearly 1 million vaccine doses were rushed to the region and health workers desperately tried to improvise treatment space for victims. Cholera causes acute diarrhea, is spread by contaminated food and water and can kill within hours if not treated. The disease is a major concern for the hundreds of thousands of cyclone survivors in the southern African nation now living in squalid conditions in camps, schools or damaged homes.
The Portuguese news agency Lusa quoted Mozambique national health official Ussein Isse for the new toll. Isse declared the outbreak on Wednesday with just five confirmed cases. Far more cholera cases already were feared. The medical charity Doctors Without Borders told The Associated Press it is seeing around 200 likely cholera cases a day in the Indian Ocean port city of Beira alone. The city of some 500,000 people is the hub of cyclone relief efforts.
The World Health Organization has warned of a "second disaster" if waterborne diseases like cholera spread in the impoverished nation. It said 900,000 oral cholera vaccines were expected to arrive Monday and a vaccination campaign will begin late next week.
WHO also has opened seven treatment centres with a total of 400 beds, including 100 in Beira. "We assume that there are lots of people who will get sick and we want to get prepared," spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva.
Cyclone Idai, which stuck March 14, destroyed more than 50 health care clinics in central Mozambique, complicating the work to contain the disease, Radio Mozambique cited disaster management official Rui Costa as saying. It is not yet clear whether any cholera deaths have been confirmed. "We're not going to test every single case (for cholera) because it's not difficult to recognize when you look at the diarrhea of a patient. Once you see it once, you always recognize it," Gert Verdonck, Doctors Without Borders' emergency co-ordinator for Beira, told the AP. Other suspected cholera cases are outside Beira in the badly hit areas of Buzi, Tica and Nhamathanda, he said, but the chance of spreading in rural areas is smaller because people are more dispersed. In urban areas, however, cholera "can have a huge impact if not contained quickly," Verdonck said. He said the 900,000 vaccine doses should be enough to cover targeted areas but that a second dose should be given after two weeks to strengthen protection.
The speed of the outbreak came as a surprise, he said. Earlier this week workers found 40 to 50 people with acute diarrhea at a health centre in Munhava, one of Beira's poorest neighbourhoods. "We had to improvise," he said. Without space for the usual treatment setup of beds with holes and buckets underneath, they carved holes in plastic chairs instead for patients with enough strength to sit upright. Outside, nails were pounded into walls to hand IV drips to rehydrate patients. "You cannot wait to have a nice five-star tent," Verdonck said. "We tried to go as quickly as possible." Cholera is not difficult to treat but the treatment needs to occur as early as possible, he said. The cyclone badly damaged Beira's water supply, adding to the city's cholera risks. Some people have resorted to drinking stagnant water by the side of the road, increasing the chances of diarrhea. Others are drinking water from contaminated wells.
Some of the hardest-hit communities remain cut off from aid 15 days after the cyclone, and people are relying on heavily polluted water, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. "You can imagine how much we are sitting on a water and sanitation ticking time bomb," the secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Elhadj As Sy, told the AP after visiting a school where 3,000 survivors had only six toilets to use.
The cyclone death toll in Mozambique inched up to 493 on Friday, with at least 259 dead in Zimbabwe and 56 in Malawi. Officials have warned that those numbers are preliminary and final figures may never be known. Some bodies have been found and buried without being registered with authorities. Others were washed away by the power of the storm.
Officials in Zimbabwe have not announced any cholera cases in the country's cyclone-hit region. Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi has said the search and rescue phase has ended. He also declared that health care will be free for residents in cyclone-hit areas until the end of the year, Lusa reported.
The United Nations has said some 1.8 million people need urgent help across the sodden, largely rural region. Hunger is another growing concern, as the storm wiped out crops on the eve of harvest. Officials have found a slender hope in the weather report, which appears free of rain for the next several days.
Beira situation not improving.
'It's not safe anywhere:' Mozambique cyclone scattered lives
We didn't know his name or even see his face. But amid the grim scene of a cyclone-devastated village, the little boy stood out because he danced. He skipped down the muddy street in Buzi to music only he could hear, oblivious to the suffering around him, at least for a while. He was barefoot and in muddy shorts. He likely wore the only clothing he had left. Like many children in the wake of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, he was alone. But he seemed to have a destination, and that put him well ahead of most. He was almost certainly headed to a makeshift shelter or the concrete floor of a school, now crammed with wet laundry, cooking fires and displaced people.
Life there was perilous. At one school, another small boy lay curled up in a doorway, dozing next to a pile of still-warm ashes. Hundreds of thousands of uprooted lives, many of them children, have been scattered by the storm that roared in on March 14. Homes were washed away by rivers that burst their banks, sending waters rushing over a vast stretch of central Mozambique, as high as the tops of trees. Survivors described opening the doors of their homes to water that reached their necks. They raced to gather their families and scramble onto rooftops. There they stayed, sometimes for days. They drank the water around them, as filthy as it was, to stay alive.
On one rooftop a woman gave birth. The baby lived. Finally, in some cases, a helicopter appeared. It dropped biscuits to eat. And it posed an immediate and painful decision: Whom to save first? Some families were ripped apart as women or children, or the injured, were whisked away. What remains, more than two weeks after the cyclone made landfall, is a sodden landscape of disconnectedness and grief.
Phones barely ring or ping, if at all. Internet service was severed and is only now inching back with the aid of emergency responders. In flashes of hope, people have scouted out the highest points on the flat landscape, waving cellphones in the air: A three-story building in Buzi. A highway overpass in the city of Beira, home to 500,000 and now 90 percent destroyed. Those who couldn't find a signal were despondent over the chances of finding missing loved ones.
Officials who are pressed for estimates of the number of missing people don't even try. Even the death toll, now above 700 in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, is called very preliminary. It may never be known. The numbers offered by humanitarian agencies have become a blur. Some 1.8 million people in urgent need. Nearly 136,000 people displaced in worst-hit Mozambique alone. More than 50,000 homes there destroyed.
In the port city of Beira, fishing boats pulled up one by one on the beach carrying survivors ashore from Buzi and other places. Children huddled, damp and bewildered, until aid workers drove them away in the back of a pickup truck. They were destined for one of many impromptu displacement camps, likely a school. Conditions in the camps are often squalid, with little clean water, sanitation or medical supplies. A cholera outbreak has begun, and is gaining speed. Amid the chaos, families still search for children, parents, spouses, often in vain.
Some survivors stood on the beach in Beira and watched the fishing boats arrive, looking for a familiar face in the crowd. Zacarias Mauta stood alone. He had come from Buzi, where he survived by climbing a tree. Four days later a helicopter plucked him up and brought him to Beira, a city he had never seen. He wants to reunite with his family, including four children under the age of 6. He hopes they were taken to Beira as well but does not know. "I wanted to hold my family but I couldn't," he said of their separation in the storm. "I was also in jeopardy." Maybe he will find an acquaintance who knows their fate. Maybe he will find work in the unfamiliar city so he can keep looking for them. Maybe the government will help him.
The cyclone taught him this, he said: "It's not safe anywhere anymore."
Big powers provide negligible support for #CycloneIdai relief
31 March 2019, 09:50am
By Shannon Ebrahim
Even before Cyclone Idai ravaged Mozambique two weeks ago, the country was listed as the second poorest country in the world according to the world’s leading economists. Zimbabwe is also ranked in the top 10 poorest countries in the world with 95% unemployment, and is now struggling to cope with mass devastation in the wake of Cyclone Idai. The poorest of the poor are being faced with the worst natural disaster Southern Africa has seen in decades, yet the world’s big powers are being stingy at best, providing minimal relief compared to what the UN says is required.
In the wake of the massive devastation in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, the UN made a flash appeal last Tuesday for US$282 million, but the world’s largest donors have pledged a paltry US$51.6 million - one sixth of what is needed. “The milk of human kindness seems to have dried up for this side of the world,” Minister for International Relations Lindiwe Sisulu has said, calling Mozambique’s President Felipe Nyusi "very lonely in his plight".
“This is the worst devastation I have seen outside of a war situation in Africa,” Sisulu said on her return from a helicopter trip over the devastation in Beira on Thursday. “The area is totally destroyed and resembles a rice paddy, and two weeks later the real body count begins. It seems the world has grown accustomed to disasters, and for many Mozambique and Zimbabwe are far flung and insignificant,” Sisulu said. The needs on the ground are so great that the UN is set to revise its flash appeal in the coming days, and is expected to announce a new flash appeal far greater than US$282 million. Major donors are giving minimal amounts to relief efforts compared to what the situation calls for, while claiming great generosity, and some big powers are yet to even contribute to the relief efforts.
The largest donor to the Cyclone affected areas to date is the United Kingdom, which is providing the equivalent of US$26 million in humanitarian relief, or 9% of the originally estimated total needs of the cyclone ravaged areas. The next largest donor is the United States which has pledged a total of US$7.5 million, which includes its US$3.4 million donation to the World Food Program. Norway has pledged US$ 5.5 million, Germany US$ 4.8 million, Canada US$ 2.6 million, France US$ 2.2 million, Switzerland US$ 2 million, and Turkey US$1 million. China has provided an undisclosed amount of money and sent rescue and medical teams, and Japan has also been reluctant to disclose the money it has pledged, but sent disaster relief experts and medical teams. Russia is planning to send several transport aircraft with humanitarian aid. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have not been able to provide the amount they are providing to the region. “A few million dollars from each of the big donors will never meet the needs of the devastated countries in Southern Africa, it is time Southern Africa sees who its real friends are,” Dr David Monyae of University of Johannesburg told Independent Media. …
US army airlifting food and other humanitarian aid supplies from Durban to Mozambique
The US army has joined the huge humanitarian aid efforts with an around the clock operation through which food and relief supplies were being airlifted from Durban to the cyclone Idai-hit Mozambique. Spokesperson for the US mission in South Africa, Rob Mearkle, said the US Consul General, Sherry Zalika Sykes, visited King Shaka International Airport on Sunday to view yet another shipment of food and other supplies from the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Mearkle said the US army was providing airlift support in South Africa for the USAID-led humanitarian response to cyclone Idai. He said the first batch of supplies were jetted out of Durban on Saturday.
The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) and the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) expedited the necessary authorisations for the airlifts, while "invaluable assistance" had been provided by Swissport, Dube Port Cargo, Skytanking, BidAir and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), Mearkle said. He said the commodities that were being airlifted from Durban were from WFP's internal stock.
"Separately from these shipments, the United States has provided nearly $3.4m in additional funding for the WFP to deliver approximately 2500 metric tons of rice, peas, and vegetable oil to affected people in Sofala, Zambezia, and Manica provinces. This lifesaving emergency food assistance will support approximately 160 000 people for one month," Mearkle said. "To date, the US government has provided nearly $7.3m (R105m) in humanitarian assistance to help people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi who have been affected by Cyclone Idai, as well as flooding that occurred earlier this month. This includes more than $6.5 million from USAID."
247 new cases of cholera were identified in Beira during the 24 hours Sunday to Monday.
Mozambique cholera cases rise to over 1,000 after Cyclone Idai
Updated: April 2, 2019 01:59 PM
The mounting cases represent on average more than 200 cases of new infections each day
The number of confirmed cases of cholera in Mozambique after Cyclone Idai battered the country has risen to 1,052 people, the health ministry said late on Monday in a new report. The steep rise in cases comes after the first five were announced last week, meaning an average of 200 cases of new infections are being documented every day. The cases threaten to turn into an epidemic less than three weeks after the tropical cyclone made landfall and killed more than 500 people in the country’s central provinces. Although hundreds have been taken ill with cholera since last week, only one death has been reported so far, tallies compiled by the ministry showed.
A mass vaccination campaign is due to be rolled out on Wednesday as authorities and aid workers are scrambling to avert an epidemic more than two weeks after a devastating cyclone slammed Mozambique. Some 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccines were due to arrive in the cyclone-battered Beira city on Tuesday, from the global stockpile for emergency, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). "Vaccination against cholera begins on Wednesday in Beira," a senior Mozambican health official Ussein Isse said. The central city of Beira is the worst affected, accounting for 959 out of the total 1,052 cases. The city of more than half-a-million people recorded 247 cases in 24 hours between Sunday and Monday morning.
Cholera is transmitted through contaminated drinking water or food and causes acute diarrhoea. The numbers of cholera cases is expected to rise due to the increasing numbers of people reporting to health centres with symptoms, said the WHO in a statement. "The next few weeks are crucial and speed is of the essence if we are to save lives and limit suffering," WHO chief for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said in the statement.
Cyclone Idai's death toll rises to 843, hundreds of thousands displaced
Tuesday, 2 April 2019 09:00 GMT
BEIRA, Mozambique, April 2 (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of people are in need of food, water and shelter after Cyclone Idai battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. As of Tuesday, at least 843 people had been reported killed by the storm, the flooding it caused and heavy rains before it hit. Following is an outline of the disaster, according to government and United Nations officials:
Cyclone Idai landed on the night of March 14 near the port city of Beira, bringing heavy winds and rains. Two major rivers, the Buzi and the Pungue, burst their banks, submerging entire villages and leaving bodies floating in the water.
People killed: 598
People injured: 1,641
Houses damaged or destroyed: 112,076
Crops damaged: 715,378 hectares
People affected: 1.85 million
Confirmed cholera cases: 1,052
Confirmed cholera deaths: 1
On March 16, the storm hit eastern Zimbabwe, where it flattened homes and flooded communities in the Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.
People killed: 185, according to government. The U.N. migration agency puts the death toll at 259.
People injured: 200
People displaced: 16,000 households
People affected: 250,000
Before it arrived, the storm brought heavy rains and flooding to the lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje, in Malawi's south. The rains continued after the storm hit, compounding the misery of tens of thousands of people.
People killed: 60
People injured: 672
People displaced: 19,328 households
People affected: 868,895 (Reporting by Emma Rumney and Stephen Eisenhammer in Beira, Tom Miles in Geneva, MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare and Frank Phiri in Blantyre; Writing by Alexandra Zavis, Alexander Winning and Joe Bavier; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
More than 4,000 cholera cases and seven deaths from the illness reported in Mozambique.
Death toll from devastating Cyclone Idai rises above 1,000
April 11, 2019 - 8 hours ago
The death toll from a storm that crashed into southeast Africa last month has risen above 1,000, with more than 4,000 cases of cholera reported among survivors in Mozambique, the hardest-hit country. … The cyclone made landfall the night of March 14 near the Mozambican port city of Beira, bringing heavy winds and rains, before moving inland to neighbouring Zimbabwe and Malawi. Zimbabwe on Wednesday updated the number of dead to 344, while Mozambique has reported 602 deaths. In Malawi, 59 people died in heavy rains before the onset of Idai. The final death toll may never be confirmed. Zimbabwe's efforts were "confined to the recovery of the deceased" and the government will send pathologists to Mozambique to assist with identifying the dead, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said on Wednesday. … The UN is seeking $282m to fund emergency assistance over the next three months. …
Since a cholera outbreak was declared on March 27 in Mozambique, the government has recorded 4,072 cases of the disease and seven deaths. The majority of the cases have been reported in Beira, which was badly hit by the storm and subsequent flooding. Running water has recently been restored, reaching around 60 percent of a population of around 500,000. … More than 745,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine have been distributed since the vaccination campaign launched last week, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. Malaria is another concern as floodwaters recede, with more than 7,500 cases reported, according to the government.
Quest to find Mozambique cyclone victims takes toll
Cara Anna, Associated Press
Published 10:30 p.m. ET April 9, 2019 | Updated 10:31 p.m. ET April 9, 2019
Magaru, Mozambique — He was haunted by the thought of a small child’s skull, unburied and lost in the debris of a cyclone that had claimed hundreds of lives. Stephen Fonseca stood in a field of ruined maize where a tiny spine had been found, and he wanted to find the rest of the body. But in every direction were scattered kernels and stalks bleached by the sun. At a glance, much of the landscape looked like bones.
The stark scene brought home the overwhelming challenge faced by Fonseca, the only body recovery specialist to search the rural Mozambique region struck by Cyclone Idai, since he waded into the devastation nearly a month ago. If a final death toll ever emerges – it is now more than 600 in Mozambique alone – it will be strongly informed by Fonseca’s work in the field, and the quest to name the missing and the dead. The storm tore apart frightened families and swept whole villages away, with floodwaters as high as treetops rushing toward the sea. Parents lost their grip on children. Exhausted people clinging to branches for days fell into the waters and drowned. For days on end, Fonseca followed the accounts of villagers who spoke of seeing the dead floating by.
As the waters began to recede, he walked for miles through mud so thick it sucked boots off feet. Crocodiles, hippos and snakes posed threats but hungry dogs and pigs were a bigger concern. Fonseca needed to find the bodies before they did, and bury them well. His search was guided by smell, and animal tracks, and flies. It was uncomfortable but necessary work, as bare bones are far more difficult to find, and time was running out. “Some people think it gets easier. I think it gets harder,” Stephen Fonseca said of his work. “Now I’m a parent. I start to relate to some degree how absolutely devastating it is to lose a child. But I will never say I fully understand what they are going through.” “Some people think it gets easier. I think it gets harder,” Stephen Fonseca said of his work. “Now I’m a parent. I start to relate to some degree how absolutely devastating it is to lose a child. But I will never say I fully understand what they are going through.” “This is our one good opportunity to get as much as possible,” said Fonseca, the South Africa-based forensic coordinator for Africa with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
As he pushed through the rural farmland he met local people who were just as concerned about the dignity of the dead. Desperate for news of their missing family members, some communities sent out search teams. Bodies that were found were given a quick but respectful burial, even when they were strangers. Some of the dead wore the uniforms of neighboring Zimbabwe’s security forces, having been swept down mountainsides some 60 miles away by the raging waters. Burials were difficult work. Shovels, like homes, had been lost. Some people dug with their bare hands, then watched the holes fill with water from the still-sodden ground.
“They take the time because one day our time will come as well,” Fonseca said. He found the community burials comforting, with people even pausing from handing out badly needed humanitarian aid to take turns digging. And yet he knew the burials almost certainly went unreported to authorities, meaning they would not be counted in the official death toll and families might never know their loved ones’ fates. Shallow graves were precarious, too, vulnerable to animals and further floods, the possible scattering of bones. “You bury who you can but not always well,” said Ibrahim Ismail, a local farm manager. “So he’s helping.”
Fonseca offered to do exhumations and reburials but only with permission. One family that had tracked down and buried two relatives near a termite mound, a natural marker, decided to let them be. In their culture a person should not be dug up and moved, they said. “I appreciate what he’s doing. It’s life-saving for some of us,” said Manuel Joaquim Makanije, a community member who nevertheless understood the family’s decision. Relatives long for closure, but the bodies could be anywhere.
Fonseca came across the corpse of a young girl tangled high in a tree. A local man scrambled up the trunk and slowly lowered her to the ground, while children watched. On another long hike Fonseca saw a boatman ferry a woman to a body found on an island. The face was missing, but the woman wept, certain it was her missing relative. With forensic methods such as DNA tests, fingerprinting and dental records almost impossible in rural Mozambique, Fonseca respects what he called “cultural identification.” Clothing, location and other signs were considered in the interest of grieving relatives’ peace of mind.
Without a mandate from Mozambique’s government to issue death certificates or compile official figures, Fonseca instead gave community leaders guidance on handling the dead. He distributed wooden grave markers, body tags, gloves. It reflected his wider work in Africa helping to strengthen forensics awareness on a continent where people increasingly seek accountability, and answers, over the dead. Fonseca’s time in Mozambique was ending and he would soon head home to South Africa. The work, in very challenging conditions, takes a toll, colleague Neil Morris said. “Stephen knew when he needed to return.”
In one last try, Fonseca gravitated back to the maize field where nine members of a single family had died. Soon farmers would burn the fields to plant a short-term crop to help avoid months of hunger, as the cyclone had struck just before the annual harvest. The fires would further complicate identifying the dead. As people picked their way through the field salvaging maize kernels, resuming their lives, Fonseca resumed his search for what he knew were now bare bones. The farmers shouldn’t have to discover them, he said. “They’ve been through enough trauma.” He searched slowly. It took hours. “There’s a little cranium somewhere here,” he said, half to himself, thinking of the child. “Someone’s going to find it.”
Finally he stopped and tied a blue latex glove to a stalk of maize, as a marker. He had found a small shin bone. The bone likely belonged to the same child whose spine had been found not far away. In the end, the bones would be buried together. There were no child-sized body bags. Fonseca improvised one using duct tape. “Some people think it gets easier. I think it gets harder,” he said of his work. “Now I’m a parent. I start to relate to some degree how absolutely devastating it is to lose a child. But I will never say I fully understand what they are going through.” He and a local chief, Moises Mukoto, went to the burial site. Fonseca, sweating in the hot sun, dug open a small grave as the chief wrote the time of day in a notebook, and waited. The bag with the shin bone was gently laid in the hole alongside the tiny spine, which had been buried there earlier. Then the chief quickly hoed the earth back in place. “Even one bone is important,” Fonseca said. “It represents someone special.” The wooden grave marker, written in permanent ink, said: “Don’t touch. The body of a child.”
It will take months, even years, to discover the cyclone’s dead, Fonseca said. Not everyone will be found.