Distribution of essential items
It’s been several months now since Cyclone Idai brought 175mph gusts and widespread flooding to Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, and the crisis is very far from over. Initially, the priorities identified by our rapid assessment teams were food, seeds, and shelter, and Concern has been responding accordingly.
Food distributions, in partnership with the U.N. and other agencies, have been taking place in some of the most affected areas. Access has been a big problem, with soft ground, damaged roads, and destroyed bridges hampering the relief effort. Nevertheless, we have managed to gain access.
Concern has also airlifted in essential items from outside the region, which had been stockpiled for rapid response to emergencies such as this. These include tarpaulins and rope for temporary shelter, water containers, household utensils, mosquito nets, and hygiene products.
In Malawi, our teams have organized cash transfers to allow households to buy what they need most, as in some places local markets are functioning well. It’s an effective way to work and contributes to the local economy.
Cyclone Idai wiped away millions of acres of maize and other crops, which were almost ready for harvest, and this was the biggest blow of all. Most people in rural areas rely on subsistence agriculture for survival — they eat what they grow — and there is little or no backup. In southern Malawi and Central Mozambique there is now a short window of time for people to plant replacement crops, and speed is of the essence. The ground is moist, and fast-maturing varieties of grains and legumes can grow to maturity before it becomes too dry. But this has to happen quickly.
Working with partners, we have sourced and distributed seeds as fast as we can. In the words of Concern’s Director of Emergency Operations, Ros O’Sullivan, “These people have survived one disaster — it’s up to us to help prevent another.”
Unconditional cash transfers