On Friday 15 March, Cyclone Idai hit southern Africa, causing severe floods and sending the people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi into chaos. To date, hundreds of people have died, and tens of thousands made homeless.
The massive floods caused pools of stagnant water, so disease is rampant. So far, 4,072 cases of deadly cholera have been reported.
When the cyclone struck, Amela was at home with her husband, sister in law and her 2 eldest children, aged 6 and 4, in her village of Buzi, in Mozambique,
Like 91,000 others in Mozambique, Amela’s house was suddenly torn down and flooded. She and her family were forced to flee and Amela found refuge in the nearest tree with her newborn, losing sight of her husband and other children.
“All I could think about was saving myself and my baby,” she says. “I climbed on top of a tree.”
Speaking from a camp set up by Plan International alongside the local government and community for some of the 128,000 people displaced by the cyclone in Mozambique, Amela recalls with tears in her eyes:
I spent 4 days on top of the tree before I saw a boat coming. I was so tired but so happy that help was finally coming.
Amela is one of 800 people rescued by motor boats crewed by Plan International staff.
Thankfully, Amela’s eldest children both survived the cyclone. Amela learned that they are being cared for by her sister in law, who escaped to a relative’s house on the other side of town.
Her husband was not so lucky. Just before speaking to Plan International, Amela received the news that he had drowned in the floods.
As the first organisation to carry out search and rescue in Buzi, Plan International’s biggest concern now is to ensure that anyone who is displaced, particularly girls and young women, has access to food, shelter, clothing and blankets to keep them warm in windy conditions during the nights.
Amela’s village of Buzi is now accessible by road, so Plan International is scaling up its response there.
Right now, child protection and the needs of girls are the highest priority. They are missing school, separated from their families, and scared.
By donating now, you can help Plan International respond immediately to emergency.
Your donation will provide children and families in southern Africa with urgent food, water, shelter, blankets, mosquito nets and hygiene kits. Your donation will also support us to protect children from abuse, disease and further disruption and trauma.