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Press Releases & Updates

13 APR 2019

Cyclone Idai one month on: thousands in Mozambique still cut off from any help and struggling to survive

One month on from devastating Cyclone Idai, Oxfam and its partner organisations in Mozambique are still finding thousands of isolated people cut off from any aid or rescue.

Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in the middle of March, leaving almost three million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

A few days ago, following a 24-hour journey via car, motorbike and canoe, Oxfam found approximately 2,000 people in desperate need of help in Gentivo, an isolated community in Zambézia province, north of Beira – and was unable to reach a further 4,000 people in the community. They had no contact with outside help and were surviving off dates, coconuts and a few small fish they could catch.

Oxfam and other agencies are now planning an air drop of life-saving supplies into Gentivo. But with many other people still stranded and isolated, Oxfam is concerned that thousands may not receive the emergency help they need.

Dorothy Sang, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Advocacy Manager, said: ‘The tragedy is that Gentivo is not an anomaly. We know there are many more people still out there cut off from help. The further we spread into hard-to-reach areas, the more people in need we are going to find. These are areas that have not necessarily been hit hardest by the disaster, but the people are already living in chronic poverty and now face huge challenges to survive. They risk becoming utterly forgotten.’

Marcos Paulo do Amaral from Oxfam’s local partner, CECOHAS, said: ‘In Zambézia region we still have many communities without access to humanitarian aid, completely isolated and left behind. They need virtually everything – food, water, shelter, sanitation and hygiene systems, and health care.’

A month in, we are still realising the full shocking extent of this disaster. Oxfam and other agencies are still finding survivors in desperate need, but humanitarian resources are already running out. We are concerned that thousands may not receive the emergency help they need. Aid agencies need to be adequately resourced to respond to what is becoming an overwhelming crisis.

Oxfam and its local partners in Mozambique have so far reached over 50,000 people with clean water, emergency supplies and public health activities to help stop the spread of cholera. There have been more than 4,000 recorded cases of cholera to date.

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Note to editors

The trip to Gentivo was made in partnership with local organisation, CEOCOHAS and as part of a consortium with Save the Children and Care. Centro de Coordenação Para Higiene Água e Saneamento (CECOHAS) has been an Oxfam partner since 2013. CECOHAS specializes in providing hygiene, water and sanitation in Zambézia province.

Oxfam in Mozambique is part of a consortium with Save the Children and CARE called COSACA. The three agencies work together to maximise reach and impact in emergency situations.

Oxfam is calling for more international funding to support the humanitarian response as the full impact of the Cyclone Idai becomes apparent. The UN said US$282m is needed for Mozambique alone.