Hundreds of thousands of children and their families are in danger as cyclone Idai is scheduled to make landfall on the coast of Mozambique in the coming days, warns Save the Children, potentially devastating the lives of some 800,000 people.
“Children are extremely vulnerable in situations like these”, said Machiel Pouw, Save the Children’s response leader in Mozambique. “Apart from physical dangers such as drowning or being hit by flying debris, children can get separated from their parents in the chaos, and in the aftermath they are susceptible to diseases such as cholera. We will do everything in our power to meet any needs of these children and families.”
At present, 66 people are reported to have died after heavy rains caused flooding in the provinces of Zambezia, Tete, Manica and Sofala - 100,000 people have already been evacuated. Some 60,000 of evacuees are thought to be children.
Save the Children is already on the ground working in close coordination with the government, INGC (the National Institute of Disaster Management), and partner NGOs, to help local communities prepare for the storm by informing children and their families about evacuation points and recovery procedures. “The camps, where people affected by recent floods where evacuated too, are not storm proof, so they might need to be evacuated again, along with hundreds of thousands of others on the coast and further inland”, said Mr. Pouw.
Save the Children is ready to scale up its response in Mozambique. The organisation is preparing to provide tarpaulins, ropes, and other supplies to build shelters, as well as kitchen supplies – at a later stage the issue of washed away crops will be addressed. A specialised emergency health team is being deployed to assess the health needs, which will mainly focus on the prevention of outbreak of diseases. Together with other organisations, Save the Children aims to set up family tracing systems to reunify children with their parents as soon as possible, should they get separated.
To keep children safe directly after the cyclone has hit, Save the Children will rapidly set up Child Friendly Spaces in shelters for those who have lost their homes, so families and children are safe and have the supplies they need.