Cyclone Eloise Emergency Response

by IsraAID
Cyclone Eloise Emergency Response
Cyclone Eloise Emergency Response
Cyclone Eloise Emergency Response
Cyclone Eloise Emergency Response
Cyclone Eloise Emergency Response
Cyclone Eloise Emergency Response
Cyclone Eloise Emergency Response
Cyclone Eloise Emergency Response

Over 2,500 families are creating a new home in Guara-Guara, Mozambique after being displaced in January when Cyclone Eloise destroyed thousands of buildings and livelihoods. IsraAID Mozambique opened a new Child Friendly Space in Guara-Guara where activities include dancing and art to help children process their trauma.

"We suffered a lot from the cyclones and floods when we left Buzi. We were rescued by boat to the high school of Guara-Guara where we were resettled. We are receiving help from the government with food up to today. We lost almost everything. Being a volunteer facilitator with IsraAID is important for me because, after everything that happened, we can still bring joy to the children. Wherever I go the children call me: “Look, the auntie from our little school” and it makes me very happy." - Sonia, a volunteer at our CFS in Mozambique.

Luisa currently lives in Guara-Guara, after her house in Buzi village was destroyed by flooding and the cyclone. "I took refuge in a neighbor's house. The next day everything was flooded. We left by boat to Guara-Guara. Life is difficult. When the coronavirus arrived we felt safer in our own homes. Now that we are here it is different. Although we are wearing masks and washing our hands, there are 10 families in a tent."


Hear their stories in our video.

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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.

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In Mozambique, where communities are still working to overcome the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai, which displaced thousands and severely damaged hygiene and sanitation infrastructure, people are at high risk for the rapid spread of disease. This could cause a secondary crisis and exacerbate humanitarian aid efforts. IsraAID first arrived in Mozambique following Cyclone Idai in March 2019. Since then, IsraAID has worked in the sectors of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH); Child Protection; Psychosocial Support (PSS); Medical Care; and Disaster Risk Reduction to support emergency response efforts toward building back better.

IsraAID is implementing long-term, sustainable projects to bolster psychosocial support within the education system in Sofala Province and increase community resilience toward future crises. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the IsraAID team launched distribution campaigns to support program continuity despite the shutdown, seeking to provide school children and their families with basic hygiene supplies, information about preventing the spread of COVID-19, and resilience kits, to compensate for the ongoing gap in psychosocial support services in these communities.

We are working with its partners in Mozambique including the Ministry of Education to outfit schools across Sofala Province with adequate facilities to ensure that children can go back to school safely. In addition, our teams are providing basic equipment and curricular materials to help teachers integrate hygiene into the classroom setting.

In October, in partnership with Radio of Mozambique, we launched a series of live radio programs and developed 1-minute spot-stories, for both children and adults, as part of its response to COVID-19 pandemic side effects. The program is broadcasted live weekly in Portuguese with Kalida, our senior psychosocial support (PSS) officer, in the studio providing feedback and engaging in conversations with listeners who call to present their questions, doubts and fears.The program is then translated into the two main provincial languages, Ndau and Sena, to be broadcasted also twice a week. The spot-stories is a creative piece of work between IsraAID and the writers of Radio of Mozambique, who turn relevant PSS content into spots that both capture children and adults.

By partnering up with the Radio of Mozambique and embracing the local languages of the province, this program and the spot-stories have the potential to reach more than two million people in the Province of Sofala. The contents are also available for free to the local community radios. So far, 3 of the 6 planned programs have been broadcasted, discussing COVID-19, Stress and Stigma. The content of the radio show was developed by the Mozambique PSS team together with other Protection specialists.  

 Thank you for your continued support.

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As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the world, having access to hygiene supplies and handwashing facilities has become increasingly important, but for some of the most vulnerable communities, the lack of safe water poses an additional threat during an already challenging time. 

Following Cyclone Idai in 2019, many communities in Mozambique were still without access to safe water. The cyclone impacted hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom have not yet returned to a life that they can consider 'normal'. They were still in the midst of recovering from one crisis, when another crisis - the COVID-19 pandemic - arrived in Mozambique in March. 

We are working to provide access to safe water in different communities, to minimize the spread of COVID-19, as well as any other disease that can be prevented with good hygiene practices. IsraAID Mozambique's WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) team is deploying water solutions to health facilities in Beira. We are distributing NUF water filtration systems which are designed to produce up to 500 liters of clean drinking water per hour in places that do not have permanent access to electricity. This quantity can provide enough water on a daily basis for a community of several hundred people. We are continuing to work with the local authorities to determine optimal locations to install more systems.

Access to safe water and hygiene supplies is often the difference between contracting a number of viruses, or not. This is why we are not only installing systems that provide access to safe water, we are also distributing soap, providing training for key members of the community, and promoting good hygiene practices through a number of channels. We have been adapting our usual psychosocial (PSS) training that we operate for teachers, bringing soap, buckets and water purification supplies to every session, as well as focusing on how to promote a healthy school and classroom. We have also been distributing activity kits to people's homes, and broadcasting information on PSS for adults and storytelling on PSS for children over the radio, allowing us to continue - albeit adapted - our psychosocial support to children, even when we are not able to physically meet in school. 

Thank you for your continued support during the pandemic. 

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On International Women's Day, meet a few of the incredible women working to support communities in crisis with IsraAID in the Bahamas, Colombia, Greece, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and more.

We're incredibly proud of the strong women leaders we work with around the world, and hope you will enjoy the video linked below that celebrates their accomplishments.

IsraAID has been working in Mozambique since Cyclone Idai hit the country in March 2019. Today, we are working with the education system in Sofala Province toward increased preparedness for disasters, should they strike.

Thank you for your support! And we wish you a very happy International Women's Day!

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Ethan Schwartz
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