Plan International Scales Up Response To Cyclone Idai Disaster


Plan International has scaled up its response to Tropical Cyclone Idai across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi where hundreds of thousands are in desperate need of assistance.

A woman affected by the Cyclone Idai disaster washes dishes next to flood water.

Many thousands of people across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have seen their homes torn down and flooded.

In coordination with national governments, local partners and other humanitarian organisations, our emergency response teams are prioritising the needs of affected families to ensure they have access to food, shelter, clean water and sanitation.

As a child rights organisation, protection of vulnerable young people is a major concern. We’re working with local organisations to ensure children, especially girls, are protected from the additional risks posed to them during emergencies.

Water, sanitation and hygiene kits ready for distribution in Mulanje District.

HOW HAS MOZAMBIQUE BEEN AFFECTED BY THE CYCLONE IDAI DISASTER?

Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall near the port city of Beira late last Thursday and slowly moved inland over the weekend, carving a trail of destruction across central Mozambique.

The storm brought heavy rainfall and wind gusts of up to 105 miles per hour to the region, where dry conditions gave way to massive flooding, leaving over 200 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Family stands by their flooded home in Buzi district, Mozambique.

Plan International staff member Gerald Magashi is in Beira, the most affected city in Mozambique:

The situation in Beira is dire. Looks like all the houses have been wiped out. There’s no power, there’s no fuel, even communication is really difficult. There are no roofs on houses, they have been blown away. People are sleeping outside.

HOW IS PLAN INTERNATIONAL RESPONDING TO THE DISASTER IN MOZAMBIQUE?

We are prioritising the needs of affected families to ensure they have access to food, shelter, clean water and sanitation. We are also supporting the search and rescue of people trapped in flooded parts of Buzi district.

Using a 12-metre motor boat, we are working alongside the local humanitarian organisation Association of Friends and Youth of Govuro to bring stranded children and their family members to safety, transferring them from the roofs of buildings and trees to safe shelters. At least 800 people have been rescued thus far.

Our search and rescue boats have saved more than 800 people.

HOW HAS MALAWI BEEN AFFECTED BY CYCLONE IDAI?

In Malawi, close to a million people have been affected with nearly half a million being children.

Flash floods have left a trail of destruction in Mulanje district, following heavy rains which hit southeast Africa last week. 56 deaths and 577 injuries have been reported, with more than 125,000 displaced.

Young woman receives WASH kit from Plan International in Mulanje district.

With further rains expected in the south of the country, affected families are in urgent need of assistance.

HOW IS PLAN INTERNATIONAL RESPONDING TO THE DISASTER IN MALAWI?

Plan International Malawi has launched an emergency response to support communities affected by widespread flooding in Mulanje District.

We are prioritising the food, water and sanitation needs of families and children.

Our emergency response team coordinating the distribution of relief aid in Malawi.

So far 395 affected households have received buckets, jerrycans, and soap. Adolescent girls have also received dignity kits which includes a set of underwear, reusable sanitary pads, a bucket and soap.

Our aim is to reach 2000 affected households.

HOW HAS ZIMBABWE BEEN AFFECTED BY THE CYCLONE IDAI DISASTER?

Zimbabwe has counted at least 102 deaths with 217 reportedly still missing. Hundreds more are injured. These figures are expected to rise in the days ahead.

Around 225,000 people across the three districts of Chimanimani, Chipinge and Mutare have been affected by the disaster, of whom an estimated 60% are children.

14-year-old Munashe and her family lost their home when Cyclone Idai swept through her community in Chipinge district.

HOW IS PLAN INTERNATIONAL RESPONDING TO THE DISASTER IN ZIMBABWE?

Our teams are based at the Skyline Civil Protection Unit Command Centre in Chimanimani district where many displaced people have set up camp.

Alongside the Zimbabwean Government and other INGO’s we are coordinating an emergency response prioritising food, shelter, clean water and sanitation for those affected.

Our partner organisation in Zimbabwe, Childline is providing protection and counselling for the children affected by the disaster.

Emergency response team member and Childline staff at the civil protection unit camp in Chimanimani district.

HOW IS PLAN INTERNATIONAL SUPPORTING GIRLS AFFECTED BY THE CYCLONE IDAI DISASTER?

Adolescent girls in Mulanje District, Malawi, are receiving dignity kits so they can manage their periods.

We are concerned about the impact of the disaster on children, particularly adolescent girls, who are especially vulnerable in emergency situations.

Displaced girls living in shelters are especially at risk of gender-based violence. Across the three countries affected by Cyclone Idai, many people are sheltering in overcrowded schools, churches and public buildings with communal bathroom facilities, increasing their vulnerability to potential risks.

Displaced community members use school in Mulanje district as a shelter making it difficult for children to continue their education.

Stuart Katwikirize, Plan International Regional Head of Disaster Risk Management, said:

We are focusing on the needs of adolescent girls in our response. Our priority is to ensure their needs are met as much as possible, including providing protection and the distribution of dignity kits.