Almost three months after the devastating cyclones Idai and Kenneth, hundreds of thousands of people in Mozambique are still affected. The need for aid is immense in many areas. In May and June, three new Johanniter projects have been launched, aimed primarily at strengthening rural health care and improving sanitation conditions.
"The question is not whether food security programmes are necessary, but who implements them," explains David Prieto, Head of Mission in Mozambique. He has no doubt that the existing food shortage will remain an urgent issue in the coming months. According to World Food Programme estimates, at least 750.000 people will be dependent on food supplies for one year. Almost 90.000 families have lost their homes and arable land to the floods. "Many of those affected need technical support to remove the mud and make former arable land usable again," says Prieto.
Johanniter already had started the distribution of seeds and tools in April. Further projects have now started. Together with the local NGO Esmabama, a health station in the Buzi district is getting support since mid-May. The cyclone has led to a significant increase in the number of patients, hence the station is mainly supported with medical supplies, but also with food supplements for about 500 mothers and children who show signs of malnutrition. Similar activities started in June around the Gorongosa National Park with mobile health teams. In the city of Beira, 250 sanitation facilities will also be built in a city district that was badly hit by Idai. Together with hygiene trainings and the distribution of water purification tablets, all activities contribute to improving hygiene conditions. Thus, diseases can be avoided.
Previously to the project activities, a mission of the Johanniter Emergency Medical Team took place in Buzi district. From 5 April on, a total of 23 volunteers from Germany and Austria provided medical assistance in the disaster area. Since then, 842 patients have received medical treatment. The most common diseases were respiratory diseases and gastrointestinal infections. About half of the patients were children.
Floods and destruction caused by Cyclone Idai had claimed more than 600 lives in Mozambique. According to UN figures, some 1.8 million people were dependent on humanitarian aid. In the community of Grudja, around 17.000 people had been cut off from medical care for weeks, which is why the operation area of Johanniter´s EMT was located there.
In addition to the volunteers, 2.5 tons of essential medical supplies reached the disaster area to provide basic medical care for 10.000 patients over a period of three months. Medical supplies arrived to treat malaria and cholera patients which were fastly growing diseases in the country. Johanniter also distributed 22 mobile water treatment filters to improve the access to clean drinking water.