The response to the emergency in Mozambique: water, health and hygiene, re-construction of housing units
In spring 2019, a terrible cyclone hit the northern part of Mozambique. Its violent wind and rain have caused many damages in the Cabo Delgado Province. Caused by extreme and uncontrollable climate phenomena, Cyclone Kenneth changed the lives of 374,000 people, leaving many families without a home. For example, the 90% of the Ibo Island population—which counts 17,000 inhabitants—doesn't have a safe place where to stay. In Ibo District, the roofs of the schools have been take off, while the school of Matemo has been completely destroyed. To deal with this emergency, we had to intervene as quickly as possible, above all to guarantee basic hygiene and sanitation services. And to restart.
On the 25th of April 2019, Cyclone Kenneth hit the northern part of Mozambique and destroyed whole villages of the Quirimbas archipelago. From the beginning, we have been working on the frontline to support local communities, who lost their homes, and to provide them with drinkable water, food and personal hygiene products. On Ibo District's four islands (Ibo, Quirimba, Matemo and Quirambo), our local operators have assisted 800 families in the installation of plastic tarps on their houses' roofs and helped 200 families to repair their damaged homes. Thanks to our consolidated presence in Ibo District since 2014, finding a team of volunteers, masons and carpenters was quick and easy.
The second biggest challenge was to provide access to drinkable water, fundamental to avoid the spread of diseases. We collaborated with members of 29 water management committees to restore and monitor 161 wells. Meanwhile, thanks to the collaboration with the District Health Services, we provided 3,000 families with free certeza, a product apt to disinfect the wells' water, so that they could drink it and use it to cook.
To decrease the risk of contagion, it was also necessary to build adequate toilets in the shelters for displaced families. At the same time, we organized awareness-raising campaigns and door-to-door visits, above all in schools, in order to teach people how to avoid the spread of diseases linked to water quality or poor hygiene.
Public infrastructures, such as childcare services, are crucial for the islands' social and economic functioning. To allow children to go back to school, we designed some intervention plans to rebuild 5 schools in Ibo and Matemo Islands. We particularly focused on making buildings and roofs as secure as possible. The maternal and child healthcare center on Ibo, which is very important for pregnancy and birth assistance, was also restored and equipped with medical equipment. Moreover, we helped repairing the hygiene services of 11 buildings—schools, a hospital and a maternal center—which had been badly damaged by the cyclone.
It has been difficult, but thanks to teamwork and because of the fact that those people needed our immediate help, we have been able to tackle all these challenges. Despite our intervention, the emergency hasn't ended yet: what was destroyed in a night by the cyclone will need much more time to be rebuilt.
The reconstruction projects were possible thanks to the support of International Organization for Migration, UNICEF and private donors.
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