Feb 17, 2021

Cyclone Eloise Emergency Response Update

In the early morning of January 23rd, Cyclone Eloise made landfall in Mozambique early with winds of up to 140km/h and intense rain. The cyclone primarily affected Sofala province where IsraAID team members are based. More than 176,500 were affected and at least 6 people killed. Cyclone Eloise comes less than two years after the area was impacted by Cyclone Idai, when IsraAID first began its long-term work in the country.

Despite many homes losing walls, roofs, or being completely submerged, the biggest concern among the affected communities is the spread of COVID-19. For the 8,300 displaced people sheltering in schools, there is a severe lack of access to food, safe water, sanitation infrastructure, and hygiene products.

IsraAID Mozambique has been working with some of the worst affected of the more than 8,000 displaced people. IsraAID first arrived in Mozambique after Cyclone Idai in 2019.

The IsraAID Emergency Response team is regularly visiting the temporary accommodation centers set up in schools in and around Beira City, ensuring that the most vulnerable people have access to water, food, and other essential items.

With your support, our team in Mozambique has distributed hygiene kits reaching over 700 people so far, providing reusable face masks, soap, feminine hygiene products, and other essential hygiene items.

The team in Mozambique is continuing to distribute essential hygiene items. In addition to Beira City, they are focusing their response efforts on the area of Guara-Guara in Buzi, a nearby rural district. Buzi village suffered from severe flooding and Guara-Guara is serving as a resettlement location for over 15,000 of the affected people.

 

Read our latest blog from Carolina Andrade, IsraAID Mozambique's Program Manager:


“Disasters don’t discriminate” has been heard numerous times throughout the past year to highlight the fact that COVID-19 affects us all — poor and rich, young and old, male and female. But this phrase describes the exception much more than the rule, and the impact of Cyclone Eloise in Mozambique couldn’t exemplify this better.

Less than two years after Cyclone Idai devastated the livelihoods, homes, and lives of almost 2 million Mozambicans, Cyclone Eloise swept across the same part of the country in early 2021. Over 8,000 people were displaced to temporary shelters, where up to 40 people sleep per room. Almost all women, children and elderly.

During our visits to these evacuation centers, we have seen that women typically stay in the shelters with the children while men often leave early to find food or a way to earn money. For those whose homes were not completely destroyed, the husbands are likely staying at home to protect their belongings against thieves, far away from the shelters Additionally, there are many widows in the shelters, whose households were even more vulnerable to disaster. Alone in the shelters, women are left to face the severe lack of safe water, food, and sanitation, and without any light, many told me they felt a heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence.

Paula*, a mother of three young children, told IsraAID’s team about the risks of staying in the shelters. “Here we are not safe,” she said. “The roof here at the school also fell, yesterday we found used condoms [on the floor]. We are already afraid, we don’t even have light. Nobody here talks about COVID, nor about illness. The other day a girl went into labor right here.”

Mariana’s* labor started the day she arrived at the shelter, just a day after her home was destroyed in the storm. With no transport available, she and her husband hitchhiked to the hospital. With no home to return to, they are now living in cramped and unsanitary conditions with a newborn baby.

Without men, women have less chance of receiving a good meal from the small amounts of food that are being distributed. In most communities, as our team has heard and witnessed, men receive food first and in bigger portions, leaving women to wait for the possibly meager remains. In IsraAID’s visits to temporary shelters, our team, made up largely of Mozambican social workers and humanitarian professionals, are advocating for the most vulnerable people – pregnant women, new mothers, the elderly, and people with disabilities – to ensure they are prioritized.

Despite the adversities thrown at them, I have seen friendships develop. Individually these women are vulnerable, but united they are stronger. In each center we visit, I always see groups of women standing together, supporting each other through yet another disaster. They keep each other going. IsraAID’s team will be with them, every step of the way.

Links:

Feb 16, 2021

Joining a Women and Girl's Friendly Space

Since 2011, IsraAID has been active in South Sudan working to combat and prevent extremely high rates of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). IsraAID’s model establishes Women and Girls Friendly Spaces in communities, offering case management services integrated with psychosocial support programming, livelihood development opportunities, and regular communal activities to promote awareness of the key challenges facing women and girls in these contexts.

In order to ensure community ownership and long-term sustainability toward truly creating a culture of prevention, IsraAID established community emergency councils, trained by IsraAID staff, and tasked with leading community engagement to prevent SGBV: these councils are made up of key leaders from within the community such as chiefs, religious leaders, teachers, and more. In addition, the daily function of Women and Girl Friendly Spaces is led by community focal points.

In light of the current difficulties and context due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each and every program aspect is integrated with COVID-19 prevention messaging. In addition, daily programming at each space is conducted in line with local guidelines, in small groups, and in outdoor spaces.

 

PROGRAMMATIC UPDATES:

Over the last months, the IsraAID team has achieved the following:

  • Reached 3,258 people (1,784 females and 1,474 males) with key preventive messaging on both COVID-19 and SGBV. This included addressing the intersection of the two: the ways in which domestic violence and child marriage has increased as indirect consequences of the pandemic.
  • Trained 13 Community Emergency Council members in Urban Juba.
  • Provision of case management services for 129 survivors of SGBV—including psychosocial support, referrals for legal support, and some basic material items.
  • Follow-up training for 100 Community Focal Points on advanced case management and the critical importance of a multi-sectoral approach to SGBV prevention and response.
  • Ongoing, daily schedule of programming at each of our centers across South Sudan including activities such as: individual and group psychosocial support sessions; singing; dancing; handkerchief making; bedsheet knitting; basic literacy; bead making; and more.

 

These activities are ongoing on the ground, where additional support is urgently needed to ensure their continued implementation. Thank you for your support!

 

STORY OF IMPACT:

Achol is a 14-year-old girl living in Lemon Gaba, where she lives with her uncle after becoming displaced from Malakal in the 2016 crises and her father being imprisoned.

In February 2020, Achol’s uncles married her without her consent to a 40-year-old army officer who was believed to be a rich man by the family and agreed to pay a high dowry.

Achol experienced severe abuse through her husband, including physical assault, insults, economic violence & sexual violence, until her husband died after a few months of marriage. Achol had nobody to take care of her. She decided to join the psychosocial support sessions facilitated by IsraAID at the Women and Girl’s Friendly Space. According to Achol, she benefited from the psychosocial group sessions which include activities like bedsheet making, social gathering, individual sessions, tea talk session, music, dance, and drama. The activities and the sense of community she experienced at the WGFS gave Achol confidence and enabled her to develop positive coping mechanisms. Encouraged through the other women, Achol started a tea place to generate an income. She benefited from IsraAID’s business skills training and in- kind support.

Achol expressed her appreciation for IsraAID for empowering women and girls who experienced Intimate Partner Violence. She continues to operate her small tea place and is hoping to join school in 2021.            

*names have been changed to protect the individuals’ identities.

Jan 21, 2021

Sindos Community Center Remote Activities

Over the last period, the IsraAID team on the ground in Sindos, Greece, has been working hard to support refugees and asylum seekers as they cope with disrupted routines amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the last three months have been defined by an ongoing lockdown in the country, which has prevented the community center from physically opening. In lieu of face-to-face meetings, activities, classes, and sessions, the IsraAID team is offering a suite of online resources, seeking to fill the gap in service provision during lockdown.

Over the last month, the IsraAID Greece team also welcomed a new Country Director, Adar Zehavi. Adar is a trained social worker, who holds an MA in International Community Development from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and an MSc. in Migration and Ethnic Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

 

In spite of the ongoing lockdown, Sindos Community Center is continuing to offer remote programming for many community members on a regular basis. However, connectivity remains a significant barrier, and many participants lack the bandwidth necessary to participate fully with video or on Zoom. Despite, this challenge, over this period, the following activities and classes were offered:

  • YouTube channel videos were created and distributed—including more than 79 videos in November and December alone! (January numbers are forthcoming).  Video topics ranged from bedtime stories, to children’s songs, to yoga, cooking videos, relaxation and stress relief, and language learning for adults.
  • Homework packages in math and Greek were distributed for children twice per week, with feedback provided directly from the teacher.
  • Targeted information and registration support was provided for caretakers of school children, as the Greek school system transitioned to online learning.
  • Ongoing English, Greek, and professional development sessions—including one-on-one, as needed!

Thank you for your ongoing support of this program!

 

 
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