Hundreds of thousands of children and their families are in danger with Cyclone Idai scheduled to make landfall on the coast of Mozambique in the coming days, warns Save the Children. The cyclone could devastate the lives of some 800,000 people.
“Children are extremely vulnerable in situations like these,” said Machiel Pouw, Save the Children’s response leader in Mozambique. “Apart from physical dangers, like drowning or being hit by flying debris, children can get separated from their parents in the chaos. They’re also more susceptible to diseases such as cholera in the aftermath of these disasters.”
So far, 66 people have reportedly been killed by heavy rains causing flooding in the provinces of Zambezia, Tete, Manica and Sofala; 100,000 people have already been evacuated. Some 60,000 of evacuees are thought to be children.
Save the Children is already on the ground and working in close coordination with the government, the National Institute of Disaster Management, and partner NGOs, to help local communities prepare for the storm. This preventative work includes informing children and their families about evacuation points and recovery procedures.
“The evacuation camps for people affected by the recent flooding, are not storm proof, so there’s a chance these families will have to be evacuated again – along with the many hundreds of thousands of others on the coast and further inland,” said Pouw. “We’re doing everything we can to meet the needs of these children and families.”
Save the Children is ready to scale up its response in Mozambique. The organisation is preparing to provide tarpaulins, ropes, and other supplies to build shelters, as well as kitchen supplies. A specialized emergency health-team is being deployed to assess the health needs, which will mainly focus on the prevention of disease outbreaks. Together with partners, Save the Children will be setting up family tracing systems to reunify children with their parents as soon as possible, should they get separated.
To keep children safe and out of the chaos after the cyclone has hit, Save the Children will set up Child Friendly Spaces in shelters for those who have lost their homes.
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