The scale of the devastation from Cyclone Idai is now apparent: nearly 3 million people affected across Southeastern Africa, with hundreds of people dead, hundreds of thousands left homeless, and waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and cholera already being reported. The need is enormous, and urgent.
WaterAid has today launched an emergency appeal to fund relief operations in two districts in Mozambique and Malawi. WaterAid is not an emergency response organisation and so is not a member of the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee). However, when disasters affect the communities we work with directly, and when our local partners on the ground are ready and able, we take action.
WaterAid will work with partner organisations on emergency provision of safe water and decent community toilets in temporary camps for displaced people in the Zambezia region of Mozambique and in Zomba district in Malawi. We will also distribute hygiene kits including soap, water buckets and purification tablets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and menstrual hygiene materials, to help prevent disease and provide comfort and dignity to survivors.
As a development agency, WaterAid will remain in these countries for the long-term, helping communities rehabilitate and improve water points and toilets.
Even before this disaster, 53% of people in Mozambique, and 33% of people in Malawi, did not have access to clean water close to home, while three-quarters of people in Mozambique and more than half of people in Malawi did not have access to a decent, private toilet, making communities more vulnerable to disease and making recovery more difficult.
We know that as climate change takes hold, these extreme weather shocks will worsen in frequency and scale. We are also working with national governments and at the international level to ensure that financing and support for climate adaptation and disaster preparedness and recovery are put in place, to help communities and countries recover after such devastating events.