Cyclone Eloise, which recently hit Sofala province central Mozambique, compounded by covid-19 and economic fallout from previous climate-fuelled disasters, has crippled people's ability to recover, and left over 260 thousand people in desperate need of humanitarian aid, said Oxfam.
Around 142 thousand hectares of land and crops and over 16 thousand houses have been washed away or destroyed, forcing people to seek shelter in schools, mosques and churches with little or no water and sanitation facilities.
Rotafina Donco, Country Director for Oxfam in Mozambique said: “We are dealing with a multifaceted humanitarian disaster that could spiral quickly out of hand if people don’t get urgent help”.
Oxfam, together with partners from the COSACA Humanitarian Consortium, have started distribution of lifesaving clean water, as well as, soap, hygiene and dignity kits to people most affected.
The cyclone has hit Mozambique at a time the country was already battling to contain the spread of Covid 19. Tens of thousands displaced are squashed in small camps with no masks, preventive material or clean water. “In such setting, there is high risk of a Covid outbreak as well as the spread of diseases such as cholera”.
Cyclone Eloise is the fourth cyclone to hit Mozambique in two years. Cyclone Idai and Kenneth in 2019, have together killed hundreds of people, displaced thousands, and destroyed homes, crops and property worth more than $700 million. Eloise now has a more devastating impact than Tropical Storm Chalane, which struck the country in 2020, which will totally devastate any recovery from the effects of these previous consecutive cyclones.
“Mozambique’s stronger and more frequent cyclones show how destructive these human-caused climate disasters are becoming to the most vulnerable people”, said Nellie Nyangwa, Regional Director, Oxfam in Southern Africa.
“Once again, people least responsible for the climate crisis ―including women and children― are bearing the greatest burden of its effects”.
71-year-old Domingos Jequissene from Ndeja told us: “I am here with my family because [in 2019] Cyclone Idai destroyed our home in Lamego and forced us to flee. For the past year, we have struggled to build what we would called our new house, but Cyclone Eloise came and completely destroyed it again.”
Oxfam calls for the international community to immediately support humanitarian efforts to help save lives, as any slight delay in humanitarian aid could lend a devastating blow to the already dire situation.
Oxfam urgently needs $3 million to provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene support as well as food assistance to 52,600 people in Buzi district, Beira and Nhamatanda.