Cyclone Eloise, which recently hit the Sofala province in central Mozambique, has left over 260,000 people in desperate need of humanitarian aid, said Oxfam.
Around 142,00 hectares of land and crops and over 16,000 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 of people have been displaced and are squashed in small camps with no masks, preventive material or clean water.
“In such settings, there is high risk of a COVID-19 outbreak as well as the spread of diseases such as cholera,” Donco added.
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 (USD). Currently, Cyclone Eloise has had a more devastating impact than Tropical Storm Chalane – which hit the country in 2020 – and 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,” says Nellie Nyangwa, Regional Director, Oxfam in Southern.
“Once again, people least responsible for the climate crisis – including women and children – are bearing the greatest burden of its effects.”
Oxfam calls for the international community to immediately support humanitarian efforts to help save lives, as any slight delay in humanitarian aid could be a devastating blow to the already dire situation. Oxfam urgently needs funds to provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene support as well as food assistance to 52,600 people in Buzi district, Beira and Nhamatanda.