Mozambique: Tropical Cyclone Idai - Emergency Appeal n° MDRMZ014

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This Emergency Appeal seeks a total of 10 million Swiss francs to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Mozambique Red Cross (CVM) to deliver assistance to 75,000 people with an emphasis on the following areas of focus: Shelter, Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH), Protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI) and National Society Capacity Strengthening for 12 months. The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this time of the evolving operation and will be adjusted based on further developments and more detailed assessments. The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this time of the evolving operation.

The disaster and Red Cross Red Crescent response to date

9 March 2019: Tropical Cyclone Idai forms over Northern Mozambique Channel. CVM preparedness and early warning actions underway

13 March 2019: IFRC Surge Capacity is deployed to Maputo

14 March 2019: 342,562 Swiss francs allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to meet the immediate shelter, WASH and health needs of 1,500 households

15 March 2019: Tropical Cyclone Idai makes landfall in Beira,

17 March 2019: IFRC Surge Capacity arrival in Beira with CVM to conduct preliminary assessments.

19 March 2019: IFRC issues an Emergency Appeal for 10 million Swiss francs for 75,000 people for 12 months.

The operational strategy

Cyclone Idai made landfall on the evening of 15 March 2019 in the port city of Beira located in Sofala Province of Central Mozambique. The cyclone wreaked havoc on Beira and surrounding areas resulting in loss of communication, important damage and destruction to shelter and settlements, health and WASH facilities and standing crops, communication infrastructures and loss of life and injury2. The extent of the damage is not yet fully known as access to Beira, a city of 500,000 people, was lost immediately after the cyclone. Roads were blocked and the airport was temporarily closed.

The cyclone’s path resulted in destruction in Chinde District located in Zambézia, Manica and Inhambane provinces. While crossing, the tail of cyclone Idai has also left widespread destructions in Zimbabwe. There are concerns that the situation outside of Beira may be even worse, but these areas have been cut off and thus the scale of the damage is unknown while it is understood that the situation is severe, and hundreds of thousands have been affected. Initial figures indicate 400,000 people have been displaced with many more affected. As of March 18, the death toll from Cyclone Idai’s landfall stands at 84 and according to media reports the President of Mozambique declared it could rise above 1,000.

As of 19 March, forecasts project additional heavy rainfall over the coming 10 days for some areas already impacted by the cyclone, including around Beira. According to OCHA’s flash update, the authorities have issued a Red Alert for flooding along the Buzi and Pungoe river basins in the next 72 hours, which could lead to further destruction and potential loss of life3. Rivers in the affected area are at flood levels and predicted to continue to be at flood levels over the coming week. As the water drains toward the ocean in the coming days, the upstream parts of the rivers will improve while flooding in the downstream areas near the coast will likely get worse.

The Red Cross assessment team comprised of CVM staff and IFRC surge team leader, assessment coordinator, logistics, communication and WASH was one of the first teams to make it to Beira and initial assessments are underway. An aerial survey was conducted in the most affected areas of Beira on 17 March.
The survey indicates that over 90% of the areas may have been completely destroyed.

A comprehensive multi-sectoral assessment will be carried out in the coming days to inform strategies to focus on longer-term needs in livelihoods and disaster risk reduction capacity. Preliminary information indicates that the majority of houses have been completely destroyed and thousands have been displaced. The response team is exploring methods of getting relief items in quickly noting the severity of the situation and limited access. Access by boat is being explored as a viable solution. The IFRC and CVM are working closely with French Red Cross and Indian Ocean Regional Intervention Platform (PIROI) to support bringing in relief supplies from their base in La Reunion. Prior to the cyclone hitting, household items (HH items) were prepositioned and they are currently being distributed to affected communities by CVM.

The Red Cross assessments indicate immediate needs comprise Shelter including household items distributions, WASH and Health. Since displaced people are living in spontaneous settings and temporary evacuation centres, the likelihood of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is high. Initial assessments suggest that women, children, elderly, person with disability and other disadvantaged group of people require special attention and care to access appropriate assistance.

The team will establish three base locations in Maputo, Chimioi and Beira. These will function as the hubs for operational interventions. Based on preliminary information the operation will focus its intervention in the areas of Beira and Dondo.

Shelter and related Household items: Thousands have been displaced and most homes have experienced significant damage. According to the Red Cross assessment, 7,500 families need immediate shelter assistance.
There is a need for the provision of temporary shelters, especially for families whose houses have been completely destroyed. It is also necessary to provide support to improve the shelters of those whose houses have been partially destroyed, with specific attention to gender and disability inclusion. Shelter kits will be provided to those affected in the form of emergency shelter kits and tarpaulins.

In addition to the emergency shelter needs, affected families whose houses have been completely destroyed will require household items, including blankets, sleeping mats and kitchen sets to ensure that at least their basic needs are met, and people can be protected from extreme weather conditions. For repairing/rehabilitation of houses, conditional cash grants are being considered, to support self-recovery and owner-driven housing reconstruction. Training in safer construction, including hands-on training on building back better and community-based hazard awareness, preparedness and DRR, will be ensured throughout the response.

WASH and related NFIs: The cyclone has damaged most water points, sanitation and hygiene facilities in affected areas. People have lost their access to WASH services and facilities, families are displaced and need to be supported to prevent water-borne disease outbreaks. This includes the provision of soap for hand washing and other use, the provision of buckets and jerry cans for safe storage of water, the provision of water purification which will be enabled through the mobilization of the M15 Emergency Response Unit (ERU) which provides treatment and distribution of water up to 225,000 litres a day for a population of 15,000 people, with a storage capacity of a maximum of 200,000 litres a day. This unit can also provide basic sanitation and hygiene promotion for up to 5,000 people. In addition, the M20 ERU will provide basic sanitation facilities (latrines, vector control through provision of mosquito nets and solid waste disposal) for up to 20,000 beneficiaries and help initiate hygiene promotion programs.

Health: Floods and cyclonic events can lead to death and injuries as well as increased health needs in affected communities. Infectious diseases are also likely to increase in the aftermath of the disaster. Waterborne diseases are the earliest hazard due to the contamination of water supply and disruption of usual water treatment. Outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis, hepatitis, cholera and other diseases could arise as a result. Malaria is endemic in Mozambique with a peak in the rainy season from December to April. Extensive flooding will result in stagnant water that could result in perfect breeding sites for mosquitoes.

Initial assessments have shown extensive flooding and destruction including damage to health facilities and loss of medication and supplies.4 The displacement and damage has also resulted in a loss of access to proper sanitation and hygiene materials for females which will be supported through the provision of dignity kits. Upon further assessment of health facilities, the need for additional health support will be explored including the possibility of health clinics through the ERU modality.
This operation will involve extensive logistical coordination noting the various operational bases and the incoming WASH ERU. As a result, a Logistics ERU is also being activated.

Community Selection

The DREF operation launched prior to cyclone Idai was focusing on providing assistance to 1,500 most vulnerable households (7,500 people) requiring urgent humanitarian assistance. Following floods and incoming cyclone Idai and with the extent of damages this figure is being increased to a total of 15,000 households (75,000 people).

The same selection criteria as outlined in the DREF operation will be used. Selection of individuals will be done through joint assessments by the CVM and local disaster management committees based on set selection criteria as described below:

  • Orphans and vulnerable children

  • Female-headed households and pregnant and lactating women

  • Elderly people

  • People with disabilities

  • Chronically ill people

  • Children headed households

Coordination and partnerships

  • CVM is participating in the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC’s) Technical Council for Disaster Management, HCT – Humanitarian Country Team and other forums and meetings at various levels.

  • CVM has mobilized 217 volunteers in Tete and Zambezia provinces to distribute early warning messaging to affected communities and support with water-rescue of flood-affected persons.

  • CVM and IFRC are coordinating closely with the the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in both Maputo and Beira and areas of intervention and complementarity are being discussed. The ICRC is also present in the affected area. The ICRC has launched its Restoring Family Links activities to assist families separated by the cyclone to reconnect or register their ones as missing. It also deployed a forensics specialist to help manage the dead in a dignified way and donated fuel to Beira Central Hospital to ensure the critical health facility in the province continues to have power.

  • In Beira, the (INGC has set up its Center of Operations in a World Food Program (WFP)-provided Wikhall at the airport, with inter-agency coordination currently being facilitated by WFP and the NGO Consortium (COSACA). Télécoms Sans Frontières has deployed a team to Beira and is establishing connectivity for the operations centre.

  • Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement partners including Partner National Societies (PNS -- Spanish, German, and Belgian-Flanders Red Cross), PIROI and ICRC are all working in close coordination to support this operation.

  • IFRC at Cluster, Region and Geneva levels has activated its Joint Task Force (JTF) mechanism which provides a platform for alignment and coherent response actions.

  • CVM is the Shelter Cluster lead agency and IOM is co-leading. They are working in close coordination to ensure the co-leadership of the shelter coordination modality in country, both in Maputo and in Beira and sub-regions / hubs.