Emergency Response to Cyclone Idai

by International Medical Corps
Emergency Response to Cyclone Idai
Providing primary healthcare services in Dombay.
Providing primary healthcare services in Dombay.

As International Medical Corps’ emergency response to the Cyclone Idai has come to a close, this will be the final report. Thanks to the support of the GlobalGiving community and other generous donors, our team has supported access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene; healthcare; and mental health and psychosocial support for approximately 122,300 men, women and children in Sofala Province.

To continue supporting International Medical Corps and our GlobalGiving projects, please visit our “Emergency Response to Hurricane Dorian.” Hurricane Dorian stalled over the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm, packing sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts of 220 mph and causing widespread devastation and loss of life. More than 1,000 people are still missing and at least 53 people have been killed. In response, International Medical Corps’ teams are addressing the Government of the Bahamas’ priorities in the areas of health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and mental health.

https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-hurricane-dorian/

The Tree of Life

On March 14 and 15, Tropical Cyclone Idai, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, made landfall near Beira City, Sofala Province, in central Mozambique. The devastating storm left approximately 1.85 million people in need of assistance. Cyclone Idai wiped out roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure in its path, while high winds damaged or destroyed countless homes and buildings — including health centers and hospitals. Moreover, the heavy rains and flooding that continued even after Cyclone Idai made landfall increased the risk of water-borne and vector-borne diseases, including cholera. By May 5, the Government of Mozambique had confirmed 6,739 cases of cholera in Sofala Province.

International Medical Corps worked with our local partner, Esmabama, to reach approximately 80 communities whose access to medical care and support was cut-off due to the damage from Cyclone Idai. During our outreach to one of the communities close to Estaquinha, located in the Buzi district of central Mozambique, we met a woman named Ines. Ines told our teams that she does not know her exact age.

When the flooding came as a result of Cyclone Idai, she grabbed her five grandchildren and ran to reach a safe place with higher ground. The flooding kept coming, so they eventually climbed a mango tree and stayed there for five days. To stay in the tree, Ines removed most of her clothing and tied her grandchildren to the branches of the mango tree because she knew they could not stay awake.

When food floated past in the flood water, Ines and others climbed down and hung themselves from the branches to reach for it. Some people fell into the water and were swept away. She would later look for the bodies of those people.

When Ines and the children finally came down from the tree, once the flood waters receded, she knew the only resource she could hope for was the Estaquinha Health Center. After making their way to the health center, their skin infections, diarrhea and injuries from being among the branches and exposed to the flood water were all treated. Ines is extremely grateful for the care that she and her family received, especially because the area is so remote.

We thank the GlobalGiving community and other donors for supporting our work providing care wherever, and whenever, it is needed after disasters and during emergencies.

Carrying a child across the flooded areas.
Carrying a child across the flooded areas.
Providing relief after Cyclone Idai in Buzi.
Providing relief after Cyclone Idai in Buzi.
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Assessment team surveying the IDP communities.
Assessment team surveying the IDP communities.

Late on March 14, 2019, Cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira City in the Sofala Province of Mozambique. According to UN OCHA, this Category 3 storm damaged or destroyed nearly 150,000 houses, weakened infrastructure and displaced more than 400,000 people. The healthcare and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems were also affected due to the rainy season and flooding.

At the start of our response, International Medical Corps traveled through the cyclone-affected districts with our local partner, Esmabama; Esmabama is a humanitarian organization focused on promoting safe WASH within the rural Sofala Province. Our teams conducted assessments of the most urgent water, sanitation and hygiene needs as well as needs related to mental health and psychosocial support.

The assessments identified the need for improved access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene to prevent the spread of diseases like cholera and malaria. They also identified gaps in both urgent and routine access to quality and comprehensive healthcare and mental health and psychosocial support care. Survivors of disasters like Cyclone Idai face a higher risk for psychological distress and mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and more.

Felicity, our Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Coordinator, explains that assessments such as ours allow us to “respond to the needs on the ground as they exist in real time.” She informs us that “the assessment is the first stage in accountable programming.”

Today, thanks to these assessments, we are partnering with Esmabama to rehabilitate water points in health facilities; test water quality to ensure the availability of clean water; and support basic sanitation infrastructure with handwashing stations. To address mental distress, we are providing training on psychological first aid. This technique in intended to provide humane and practical emotional support to fellow human beings who are suffering, in ways that respect their dignity, culture and capabilities. By providing skills and resources we are making it possible for the people of Sofala to be their own best first responders in the future.

Thanks to the generous support of the GlobalGiving community and other donors, International Medical Corps can continue to promote safe water, sanitation and hygiene and address mental distress in the communities affected by Cyclone Idai.  

Teams gathering information to build back better.
Teams gathering information to build back better.
Promoting WASH and mental health in affected areas
Promoting WASH and mental health in affected areas
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Zimbabwean mother and her three children
Zimbabwean mother and her three children

On March 14 and 15, the category three storm known as Cyclone Idai reached the southeast coast of Africa. that 270,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe, with about 181 fatalities and 330 people still missing. Numbers are expected to rise as access to isolated communities is restored by fixing the damaged roads and bridges.

When the storm struck, International Medical Corps was already working in Zimbabwe to promote nutrition; increase access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene; support maternal and child health; and build local capacity to respond to a disaster. This close proximity allowed our teams to deploy quickly to the most affected districts of Zimbabwe.

On March 27, 2019, our on-the-ground team traveled through difficult terrain to the Ngangu township in the Chimanimani district to look at the most urgent needs. In this area, our findings were staggering — many people have lost their homes, family members and communities, agricultural crops and their livelihoods. Access to safe water and psychosocial support are among their most critical needs.

International Medical Corps quickly provided 500 household hygiene kits to help reach the most disaster-affected families and worked to identify the most improtant gaps in services. These kits included much needed supplies like soap, toilet paper and sanitary pads to promote a sense of dignity among the most vulnerable.

We thank the generous GlobalGiving community for any help you can provide to help our teams reach the women, men, and children impacted by Cyclone Idai’s devastation. We look forward to updating you as our relief efforts continue.

Zimbabweans crossing a makeshift bridge
Zimbabweans crossing a makeshift bridge
More Zimbabweans crossing the makeshift bridge
More Zimbabweans crossing the makeshift bridge
Provision of 500 household hygiene kits
Provision of 500 household hygiene kits
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Chimanimani, Zimbabwe
Chimanimani, Zimbabwe

On March 15, Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall in the city of Beira of Mozambique. The cyclone produced torrential rains and strong winds as it moved through the country and toward Zimbabwe and Malawi. An estimated 1.85 million people are in need of assistance in Mozambique, with an additional 920,000 people affected in Malawi and hundreds of thousands more in Zimbabwe.

International Medical Corps is on the ground in Beira, where an estimated 90% of the port city has been damaged. An outbreak of cholera has been confirmed, and priority needs include clean water, primary and reproductive healthcare, and nutrition, as well as protection for vulnerable populations that include women and children.

The effects of Cyclone Idai continue to unfold in Zimbabwe and Malawi. In Zimbabwe, we are leveraging our long-term presence in the country to reach the major affected areas of Chimanimani and Chipinge and provide families in need with hygiene care including supplies like soap, toothbrushes, towels, coupled with delivery of key safe hygiene messaging, to keep families healthy. We continue to monitor the needs in Malawi, and are prepared to provide support there if additional assistance is needed.

We thank you and the GlobalGiving community for your support as we work to assess the most urgent needs and reach those affected by Cyclone Idai.

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International Medical Corps

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Development Office
Los Angeles, CA United States

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