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Cyclone Idai. Mozambique. Mobile clinics.

Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe

Humanitarian response in wake of devastating Cyclone Idai

Aida Joao, an MSF peer educator, evacuates a child with a suspect case of pneumonia from the slum of Praia Nova to the Health Center of Punta Gea. Mozambique. March 2019. © Pablo Garrigos/MSF
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In the wake of damage and devastating flooding caused when Cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe late last week, our teams are responding in the affected areas. We are working to provide medical assistance and supplies, plus water and sanitation support, to people in badly-hit provinces and districts. Officials have said they expect the death toll to be in the thousands.

    April 17, 2019

    From emergency to recovery: one month after Cyclone Idai

    Cyclone Idai swept through the Mozambique port city of Beira and the surrounding districts on the night 14 to 15 March. The high winds and flooding it unleashed killed at least 602 people in Mozambique and left many more injured. Thousands of homes, schools and health centres, as well as essential infrastructure, were damaged or destroyed. Many families were left homeless and without reliable access to shelter, clean water, electricity or food.

    Read the full article here

    April 9, 2019

    MSF respond to the cholera outbreak in Nhamatanda district

    The town of Tica, located 75 kilometers north of Beira, has been strongly hit by the floods and Cyclone Idai. Many houses, farmland and structures have been destroyed and some are still flooded. MSF teams have set up a cholera treatment unit in Tica and are providing logistical support for the cholera vaccination campaign led by the Ministry of Health.

    Read the full article here

    April 5, 2019

    The cyclone had a devastating impact on people living in areas affected by the floods and cyclone. Medical needs are high and MSF expects these needs to continue in the coming weeks, as cholera and other waterborne diseases, skin infections and respiratory tract infections, already present in the community, continuing to spread. Some areas of the flood affected area are still cut off and receiving little to no assistance.

    In order to cope with the ongoing cholera outbreaks in Beira, Nhamatanda district, and Dondo, MSF is working hard to help the Ministry of Health. MSF is also providing logistical, technical and planning support for the cholera vaccination campaign in Beira, Dondo, Nhamatanda and Buzi.

    Water remains a real concern across the flood and cyclone affected areas of Mozambique. Whilst city water supplies have returned to many of the flood and cyclone affected areas, thousands still struggle to access clean water. MSF health promotion teams working in the community to help people access clean water and stay safe, have heard of stories of people drinking the stagnant water from the side of the road or even taking it from disused community latrines. As such our water and sanitation teams are out in the community putting in water points and assessing existing ones. A dedicated water treatment unit has been installed by MSF in Chingasura, one of the more cholera-affected neighborhoods in Beira and another is being set up in Dombe (Manica province) in order to provide clean water to IDP camps in the area.

    Latest figures in Mozambique

    • 598 people died as of April 2, according to the Mozambican government
    • Nearly 112,000 houses have been identified by the authorities as totally destroyed (62,153), partially destroyed (34,139) or flooded (15,784)
    • According to UN-OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), about 1.85 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance
    • 131,000 displaced people are spread over 136 sites around Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Tete as of 2 April.

    MSF's response

    MSF responded as quickly as possible, given the enormous access constraints, with medical activities within three days of the arrival of the first team members.

    • As of 4 April, MSF teams had treated more than a thousand people suspected of cholera in the city of Beira
    • More than 300 staff are working in the flood-affected disaster area
    • More than 100 tons of international air freight supply to Beira, and increasing supply operation scaling up.

    April 2, 2019

    Cyclone Idai : The first six days in Zimbabwe

    Marthe Frieden is the medical team leader in MSF’s emergency response to the destruction caused by tropical Cyclone Idai, which hit Zimbabwe’s mountainous Manicaland province on the night of 15 March, causing flooding and deadly landslides, particularly in Chimanimani District. 

    Read the full article here

    March 27, 2019

    Enormous response underway after devastating flooding

    More than a million people are struggling to rebuild their lives in flood-affected parts of Mozambique, many of whom are in urgent need of assistance for the basics to survive. The response to the disaster caused by heavy flooding and Cyclone Idai will be simply enormous in scale. MSF emergency teams have started medical response activities, and the humanitarian emergency medical organisation is scaling up with its emergency response systems fully activated.

    Read the full article here

    Voice from Mozambique

    Gert Verdonck, MSF emergency coordinator, 27 March 

    “Given the sheer amount of water that passed through Beira during Cyclone Idai and the volume of damage caused, it’s not surprising that there are outbreaks of waterborne diseases like cholera in the city.

    MSF is already supporting the Ministry of Health to care for patients suspected of suffering from cholera in three health centres of Beira and has so far been treating more than 200 patients a day.

    In the coming days we will work alongside the Ministry of Health to scale up as much as possible and provide support to more cholera treatment units as well as work to rehabilitate a larger cholera treatment centre.

    We have cargo planes arriving daily with the supplies we need and are also flying in experienced medical and logistical staff members from our projects in Mozambique and around the world.

    We are also in discussion with the health ministry about supporting a large cholera vaccination campaign in the area.”

    March 25, 2019

    On Sunday evening (24 March), three cargo planes loaded with 43.3 tonnes of supplies, including medical kits, water and sanitation supplies, logistical equipment and other items were sent from Belgium to Beira in Mozambique. 

    Our teams are now running mobile clinics to reach people cut off from care across Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. We are providing healthcare and distributing essential hygiene kits.

    Mozambique

    Tropical cyclone Idai hit the coastal town of Beira on 14 March and has wreaked extreme devastation along the central coastline of Sofala, Zambézia and Inhambane provinces.

    More than 200 people are reported to have died in Mozambique, with at least 1,500 injured; however reports say the number of dead could be 1,000.

    Two teams of 20 emergency-experienced staff are on the ground in Beira and more teams and supplies are on the way. 

    Two more emergency response teams have arrived in Maputo and are heading to the disaster zone.

    Ninety percent of the area around Beira has been destroyed:

    • It has continued raining and flood levels have kept rising in many places. To avoid dams bursting, several dams have been partially opened to relieve pressure, and probably more will be opened in coming days.
       
    • Buildings have been submerged and severely damaged
       
    • There is no electricity in Beira or surrounding areas
       
    • Nearly all communication lines have been destroyed, which is making an assessment of the human toll and scale of disaster extremely difficult
       
    • Beira hospital has sustained severe damage to its operating theatre and several of the wards, and all 17 health centres have lost their roofs with additional damage

    We are working at full capacity in one partially-rehabilitated health centre, and are getting up to speed in two other partially-rehabilitated centres. 

    We are also running mobile clinics in several neighbourhoods of Beira.

    Zimbabwe

    Cyclone Idai hit Chimanimani district in Manicaland Province after crossing through Mozambique.

    The death toll currently stands at 154 with 162 people injred and nearly 5,000 people displaced.

    The damage within Chimanimani district is massive, with many roads completely wiped away for several kilometres. The only way to reach some communities now is by foot. Access to safe drinking water is an issue with many water pipes broken or washed away.

    • An MSF team is now working with ministry of health staff out of Chimanimani hospital. So far, low numbers of patients have been seen, with three cases of watery diarrhoea.
       
    • Two outreach teams are also trying to access as many of Chimanimani’s 20 health clinics and surrounding settlements as possible, to assess health needs and distribute medicines to clinics and village health workers.
       
    • So far, health needs include trauma, antiretroviral treatment refills for HIV patients, chronic disease medications. However, the longer term consequences of blocked access should be considered: electricity was disrupted affecting routine vaccination services, stockouts of medical supplies and drugs, treatment interruptions for HIV, TB and chronic disease patients, lack of detergents and chlorine.

    Malawi

    Malawi had experienced heavy rain since the start of March. Coupled with Cyclone Idai, flooding has now affected the majority of Nsanje district in southern Malawi, with around 16,000 households affected.

    While we haven't witnessed any challenges with food availability, there has been huge destruction of agricultural crops and animals. It’s estimated that 50 percent of the area’s crops might have been lost.

    • An MSF team of 18 people is supporting the health ministry to cover the needs of an estimated 18,000 people in Makhanga on the eastern bank of the Shire river, with health, sanitation and non-food-item supplies.
       
    • So far, our teams have not detected acute medical needs, but we’re concerned about the many people on chronic medication, including for HIV and TB treatment.
       
    • In Makhanga health centre, ministry of health staff have still not returned to work, so MSF continues to ensure primary healthcare, HIV services and basic disease surveillance continues at around 150 consultations per day.
       
    • We have now reached more than 2,000 households in Makhanga with hygiene kits, which includes buckets, cups and soap.

    March 20, 2019

    "A lot of water"

    Gert Verdonck's testimony, MSF emergency coordinator in Beira, Mozambique.

    Read the full article here

    March 19, 2019

    Our teams are working in the following areas:

    Mozambique

    Tropical cyclone Idai hit the coastal town of Beira on 14 March and has wreaked extreme devastation along the central coastline of Sofala, Zambézia and Inhambane provinces. Ninety percent of the area around Beira has been destroyed:

    •     Main roads leading into Beira have been cut off
    •     Buildings have been submerged and severely damaged
    •     There is no electricity in Beira or surrounding areas
    •     Nearly all communication lines have been destroyed, which is making assessment of the human toll and scale of disaster extremely difficult
    •     Beira hospital has sustained severe damage to its operating theatre and several of the wards, and all 17 health centres have lost their roofs with additional damage.

    Between Beira, Dondo and Chimoio cities 84 people are reported to have died, with at least 1,500 injured; however reports say the number of dead could be 1,000.

    Following an early assessment, an MSF emergency team is arriving in Beira to conduct a wider assessment on the extent of the damage and needs. Our main concern is to ensure continuity of care and referrals at the health centres, while we anticipate that water and hygiene needs will remain high in the coming days.

    Zimbabwe

    Cyclone Idai hit Chimanimani, a small district of approximately 30,000 people in Manicaland province, late Friday 15 March, after passing through Mozambique.

    •     Several roads leading into Chimanimani have been cut off
    •     The only access into the area is by helicopter
    •     Airlifts were intended to take place to a nearby stabilisation centre but efforts are being hampered by difficult conditions.

    Our team has been unable to access Chimanimani with supplies and medical materials due to destroyed bridges. We are now providing services at a stabilisation centre 20 kilometres from Chimanimani. Outside Chimanimani, we are focusing on supporting stabilisation centres with medical supplies and water and sanitation needs.

    Malawi

    Extremely heavy rains in lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje, in Malawi’s far south, has been compounded by further rains from last week’s Cyclone Idai. The rain has caused severe flooding in 14 of Nsanje’s 28 districts. Official figures confirm 56 deaths, 577 injured and 3 people missing.

    •     Rivers have broken their banks leaving many houses fully submerged
    •     Around 11,000 households in Nsanje have been displaced.

    Our teams have launched an emergency intervention in Makhanga, in the worst-affected East Bank of Nsanje area, which is only accessible by boat or helicopter.

    We are supporting Makhanga health centre with supplies, cleaning, and human resources. We are also offering strengthened surveillance and referral systems, along with outreach clinics and health promotion activities in the evacuation centres. Water and sanitation activities and distributions of non-food item kits are being planned to affected households.