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Mozambique - World Food Programme strategy after devasting cyclones Idai and Kenneth

By Monica Pinna
Mozambique - World Food Programme strategy after devasting cyclones Idai and Kenneth
Copyright  euronews

In 2019, Mozambique was hit by two devastating cyclones - Idai on 14th March followed by Kenneth on 25th April. It was the first time in recorded history the country had suffered two major cyclones in the same season. The two cyclones left 2.2 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Cyclone Idai formed over the northern Mozambique channel on 9th March and made landfall near Beira on the night of 14th March.

While the official death toll stands at 603 people. An estimated 223,947 houses were destroyed or damaged and more than 140,000 people were displaced due to the cyclone and flooding.

On 19th March, the President of Mozambique declared a national emergency and three days of national mourning.

Beira still bears the marks of Idai. Tens of thousands of people are living in temporary or unsafe shelters and those who were lucky enough to have their houses spared, are struggling to make repairs.

The impact of Idai and Kenneth in the central and northern parts of the country resulted in major agricultural losses.

Idai alone destroyed 715,000 hectares of crops. And this in a country where nearly two million people are already food insecure.

The World Food Programme is distributing food aid to displaced people at the Nhaconjo-Ndedja site in the south of the country.

Karin Manente, WFP country director explains how the organsation coped in the aftermath of the disaster.

“Day one, it was impossible to respond, everything was still inaccessible, but then day two, three, four, we had already started the response immediately. We had pre-positioned food, we had pre-prepositioned air assets and we could respond and scale up very quickly.

"We reached 1.2 million people in about six weeks - people that we assisted with food assistance. Most of it was in-kind that we had bought locally or bought in the region. And we also gave people vouchers so they could go to shops that were already reopening. (In this region) what you see today are people who had to be resettled. They were living in areas that were too risky because of future flooding.

"They go back to their lands to plant. It's also not too far and then they come back here to live where it's safer for them and for their families. There are about 2000 people we're supporting here. We are in the province of Sofala. And this province was the worst hit by cyclone Idai. And right now, we're supporting about half a million people in Sofala in similar ways.

"Some people we're supporting as well through 'food for assets' where we encourage people to build assets that will help them and their recovery, like building community roads to markets, local infrastructure, new school, new housing. Things that will help them in their recovery."