The last update seems a lifetime ago… On March 14th, Cyclone Idai hit the coast destroying 90% of the city of Beira and causing anywhere from 600 to 3000 deaths (the count is still ongoing). Idai wrecked Beira but also caused flooding along a 100 mile stretch of the Buzi river leaving villages underwater and then cut off from basic needs. It has been called the biggest weather related disaster to hit southern Africa.
One of the first concerns was rescuing people who escaped flooding in trees and on roof tops. We leveraged donations for Aero Clube of Mozambique who sent helicopters to join that effort. We then raised over $5,000 to buy critical supplies for a rescue mission along the Buzi river (Gift of the Givers, African Parks and private boats). It was reported that supplies donated from Vilankulo were the first relief (food, water, clothing, medicine, shelter etc.) to reach many families who had lost the little they had.
The last few weeks have been busy. In addition to maintaining ParCo’s regular activities, Juliet has been shopping in bulk (“a thousand of each please”), mobilizing volunteers to help at the (temporarily donated) warehouse space, fundraising with friends and local hotels, networking to get the right people in touch, and helping diverse responders to get the lay of the land on their way north.
We have heard stories from the field such as woman wandering for 10 days in search of health care after injuring herself coming out of the tree where she stayed for 3 days during the peak of flooding. A teacher walking for two days, crossing precarious water ways, to alert a rescue team that his village needed help by air. Local schools and clinics crusted in mud. Sturdy huts far and wide reduced to piles of sticks. Just as occurred during flooding to south in 2000, a woman gave birth in a tree again during this disaster, while also securing her two year old. The needs remain complex and dynamic and there is still room for us to help from 300km south of the Buzi River.
We have raised another $5000 to provide critical supplies to teams on the ground that continue to reach scattered villages with health care and relief. We will provide updates over the coming weeks as we understand and respond to the gaps from those on the ground. From there, we will explore longer term issues such as ensuring supportive care environments for children orphaned in the disaster.
Thank you to all who have donated for your generosity and solidarity.
And please lobby your governments to adopt climate friendly policies.
PHOTOS FROM GRUDJA BELLOW PROVIDED BY SARAH PARKER BIRKETT WHO VOLUNTEERED ON THE GROUND.