The Union of Comoros faced a tropical cyclone - Kenneth - which landed on 24 April in the north Ngazidja Island.
UNICEF, along with the Government and humanitarian partners are providing an immediate response to support those affected by the cyclone.
A multi-sectoral Rapid Needs Assessment was initiated on 25 April with key stakeholders, including UNICEF staff. This will enable the identification of immediate needs and better indicate those sectors worst affected.
Initial estimates from assessments indicate there are seven deaths, over 200 people wounded. An estimates 45,000 people are in need of assistance, including 20,000 people internally displaced (IDPs).
Schools are closed until 29 April due to damage.
About 125 civil security personnel were deployed on the ground on the evening 24 April to support and assure the security and safety of the population.
SITUATION OVERVIEW AND HUMANITARIAN NEEDS
As of 25 April, the Union of Comoros experienced significant impact from Tropical Cyclone Kenneth, a category 1 storm (speeds of up to 110 kph). Flooding has occurred in high risk areas of the entire archipelago, mainly on the costal lines. Water tanks have lost their covers and are polluted with garbage blown in by the fierce winds or filled with sea water in many villages and the risk of contracting water-borne diseases. The situation is likely to deteriorate rapidly if urgent action is not taken to purify water tanks and the number of people affected is likely to increase. The priority focus of the response remains on health, wash, education, food, and shelter. An estimated 60 – 80 per cent of the staple crops have been destroyed.
The Comorian Government has taken the lead to respond to the crisis supported by UN agencies, the Red Crescent and local NGOs. The Government has decided, in an extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting to withhold 10 per cent of civil servants’ salaries to address the emergency and the President has also indicated that he will also provide special funds in addition to salary cuts. However, Government capacities to respond remain a key issue, particularly significant weakness in sectoral response. Partners on the ground have limited capacity and there is no cluster approach in Comoros. Limited access due to damaged roads is another important constraint. With all national transport suspended, no power supply for the past three days, phone connectivity and logistic means to move supplies around is a significant challenge. Flooding is another issue on the coast line and in Anjouan. From 24 April, Government facilities including schools were closed.
Among the affected population, it is estimated that 65 per cent use rainwater harvesting as their main source of water, while 35 per cent are connected to a water supply system. While rainwater is available, most water tanks are damaged or filled with dirt, garbage, sea water and can be considered as contaminated. The water supply system (Mbeni and Mitsamiouli) is primarily affected by lack of power, preventing pumping and hampering water supply. People have resorted to rainwater, which is available but not potable for consumption.
On 25 April, during the morning, tropical cyclone Kenneth was 131 km west of Ngazidja and continued to move away from the islands, at a speed of 15 km/h. However, the entire national territory remains affected by heavy rainfall and strong winds of 70 km/h.
Multi-sectoral needs assessments teams were deployed by Government (with the support of UN and partners) and data is being compiled. Preliminary estimates indicate there are seven deaths and 200 wounded people, with 45,000 people in need of assistance, including 20,000 IDPs. The number of displaced is likely to increase once a better indication of how many households have been destroyed is available and precise figures come from Anjouan and Mohéli. Accordingly, about 125 civil security personnel were deployed on the ground on the evening of 24 April to ensure the security and safety of populations.