Mozambique: Supporting those who have to start all over again

Women contemplate what is left of their homestead in Gudza village, central Mozambique, in the aftermath of cyclone Idai. All Photos: LWF/Philip Wijmans

LWF restores water pumps, provides emergency shelter to villagers who lost everything

(LWI) - Located in Mozambique’s central province of Manica, Sussundenga District, Dombé region was one of the worst hit areas following the 14 March tropical cyclone Idai.

“The floods washed away everything-- houses, crops, livestock, clothes and bedding material as well as food stocks and household utensils,” a resident of Muchai village in the area, told a team from The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) assessing the needs of the cyclone-affected people in Dombé.

A homestead in Gudza village, Manica Province, central Mozambique. Strong winds and flooding from cyclone Idai washed away everything -- houses, crops, livestock, clothes and personal belongings.

The locals say their immediate priorities include getting house construction materials, functioning water boreholes, and maize and vegetable seeds for a second crop.

The LWF has started cleaning contaminated hand pumps, repairing damaged ones and training water-user committees to maintain the boreholes in Muchai and three other villages, where its humanitarian response will be concentrated. The team of water technicians and other aid workers are also distributing water treatment chemicals, shelter and non-food items, targeting more than 300 households with nearly 3,200 people. The Mozambican government and other organizations are providing food, seeds and tools.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 600 people died in Mozambique from the impact of cyclone Idai, and over 1.8 million people still need assistance following the tropical storm that also caused devastation in Zimbabwe and Malawi.

LWF water technicians repair a damaged water pump in Gudza village, central Mozambique.

LWF’s Severiano Molande (right) and Philip Wijmans (left), meeting residents of Muchai village in central Mozambique.

Flooding has receded in Dombé and the area was not affected by the recent cyclone, ‘Kenneth’ which struck the northern part of the country and neighboring South Africa. “However, it will take several months before people here can return to their normal lives,” says Clovis Mwambutsa, LWF emergency program coordinator, who was part of the assessment team.

Mwambutsa noted that while “the people we met in the villages and the local authorities are optimistic and look to the future with hope, we should not forget that behind this positive attitude there are many who have developed psychosocial problems that also need to be addressed.” LWF partner DanChurchAid is providing psychosocial assistance.  

The LWF’s humanitarian response in the isolated villages of Manica province is being carried out in coordination with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mozambique, supported by different LWF member churches and partners.

Children near a tree that was uprooted by strong winds in Muchomba village, central Mozambique.