Back-to-back cyclones in Mozambique have created an acute need for
humanitarian support to address the growing desperation in the countrys hardest-hit areas
PEMBA, MOZAMBIQUE, April 30, 2019 – Continued flooding, landslides and a threat of water-borne diseases are just a few of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) growing concerns in the aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth, a hurricane that thrashed Northeastern Mozambique April 25, leaving more than 168,000 people in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
“Entire villages have been flattened. Roads have been washed out. And bridges have been destroyed,” said Erica Dahl-Bredine, CRS country representative of Lesotho and Mozambique. “Were just beginning to fully understand the extent of the damage. In fact, the number of people who have been impacted by this storm continues to climb.”
Cyclone Kenneth struck hardest along the coastal districts of Ibo, Macomia and Quissanga. In addition, heavy continued rainfall is devastating parts of Pemba, the capital city of the province of Cabo Delgado.
“On Sunday, landslides triggered by a torrential downpour were reported in certain low-lying neighborhoods. In one case, a landslide dumped so much trash on top of peoples houses that the ensuing debris caused several reported deaths,” Dahl-Bredine said. “This is a part of Mozambique that is already more vulnerable to these types of storms because of its relative lack of resources.”
There is also a growing threat of water-borne diseases, like cholera, typhoid and malaria spreading quickly in the hardest hit areas.
“When a storm like this hits with so much devastation, ensuring proper hygiene and sanitation practices becomes vital to stemming a deadly disease outbreak,” Dahl-Bredine said.
In coordination with the local government, CRS is supporting the Catholic Church in Pemba to get help to the hardest-hit areas, including the provision of temporary shelter for at least 1,000 people, food, and other life-saving supplies.
Several factors are complicating the humanitarian response, including severely damaged road infrastructure, and a depleted stock of readily available supplies because of Cyclone Idai, which hit Mozambique only five weeks ago.
“The local Church is doing an incredible job of helping the people of Mozambique in both regions and has mobilized an enormous army of volunteers to assist in these dual relief efforts,” Dahl-Bredine said. “But additional support will be needed from the international community before more people lose their lives.”