Mozambique: Rebuilding After Cyclone Idai

On March 15th 2019, Cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira, Mozambique

The cyclone was one of the worst natural disasters to occur in the Southern Hemisphere

The storm swept across Mozambique causing severe flooding and damage to infrastructure. Thousands of people were left stranded on the roofs of buildings and even in trees, desperately awaiting emergency aid.

The storm is estimated to have caused over 1,000 deaths and an estimated 110,000 people were displaced into camps. Those displaced have had little to no access to clean drinking water for days.

To make matters worse, a cholera outbreak has been confirmed in the city of Beira. Mozambique’s government has recorded more than 4,000 cholera cases including 7 deaths. Without access to clean drinking water, rehydration fluids and antibiotics, the cholera outbreak will continue to spread. 

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Doctors of the World, present in Mozambique since 2000, quickly mobilized our emergency teams who travelled to Beira and the surrounding areas in order to assess the immediate health needs of the affected communities. Our teams continue to work nonstop to locate and assist those in the hardest hit regions.

In response to the Cyclone Idai emergency, Doctors of the World sent 14,330 lbs of medical supplies and equipment to Mozambique, including kits for the prevention and treatment of cholera. These kits are shared with the local health authorities to prevent the current outbreak from becoming an epidemic.

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Doctors of the World is also directly intervening in the John Segredo Accommodation Center, a makeshift camp that has been set up for those displaced by Cyclone Idai. The camp is currently housing an estimated 4,000 people, and more people arrive each day.

There are serious concerns about the source of drinking water for the camp, which is located many miles away and was significantly damaged by the passing storm. Our teams have constructed field hospitals within the camp to provide families with consultations and access to healthcare. We are also supporting the cholera vaccination campaign that is taking place in the area.

The majority of health centers in the cyclone’s path have been damaged

Prior to this emergency, the capacity of Mozambique’s national health network was already severely limited, with an average of only 3 doctors per 100,000 people. 

In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, health needs have greatly increased, putting an immense strain on local health infrastructure. It is essential to ensure continued access to healthcare in the aftermath of a natural disaster in order to prevent the spread of disease. 

Our teams are working alongside national health actors in order to strengthen their capacity and ability to deal with the influx of patients they are receiving. Through coordinated efforts, Doctors of the World hopes to support the communities affected by the cyclone and to prevent further spreading of disease and premature death. 

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