Mozambique

Communities in Mozambique devastated by Cyclone Eloise

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A man and child walk through a muddy field carrying a plate of food received during a distribution at Tica Relocation Centre. © UNICEF/UN0407062/Franco

Tens of thousands of children expected to need humanitarian assistance in wake of powerful storm.

On 23 January, Cyclone Eloise made landfall in Mozambique, bringing powerful winds, torrential rain and severe flooding. The storm damaged and destroyed farmland, vital infrastructure and thousands of homes, dealing another devastating blow to families still trying to put their lives together after Cyclone Idai struck, less than two years ago.

Around 250,000 people, including 130,000 children, in central Mozambique are likely to need humanitarian assistance, according to government estimates. Children living in the affected areas, particularly those who have been displaced, could soon be at risk of contracting waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoeal infections.

UNICEF is on the ground, helping to assess the damage to ensure swift and effective relief for children and their families.

In the port city of Beira, and in rural areas, severe flooding has impacted families still recovering from Cyclone Idai, which struck in March 2019 and displaced thousands of people.

Some roads in central Mozambique are now impassable, hindering access to some villages and hampering efforts to bring much-needed assistance.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of hectares of crops have been flooded, which could impact the next harvest in April.

Even before Cyclone Eloise struck, nearly half of the population was living below the poverty line, while some 43 per cent of children under 5 years old were severely or moderately stunted. Meanwhile, the conflict in Cabo Delgado, in the north of the country, has displaced more than half a million people. Basic services have been severely disrupted and affected families are in urgent need of shelter, food, protection and access to health care and safe drinking water. The COVID-19-related economic slowdown has only exacerbated these needs.

How UNICEF is helping

UNICEF’s emergency teams deployed to Beira before Cyclone Eloise hit, allowing teams to quickly distribute prepositioned supplies.

I haven’t yet returned to my home. I know my house collapsed and I lost everything. Fortunately, my children are doing well. - Catarina, 27

UNICEF and partners have been erecting tents to provide desperately needed shelter for families displaced by the storm.

UNICEF is also working with partners to provide health professionals with medical supplies and families with basic hygiene kits, including soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

The potential outbreak of waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and cholera is a major concern in flooded areas.

UNICEF is therefore urgently working with the Government and partners to make sure that the victims of the cyclone have access to safe drinking water to prevent the spread of disease.

UNICEF is also working with partners to assess needs, prioritize support to the most vulnerable, and ensure the protection of children.

Frequently recurring shocks of drought, flooding, and violence have left little opportunity for Mozambican families to recover, especially those who live below the poverty line.