© WFP/Rein Skullerud
Cyclone Idai, the strongest tropical storm to hit Mozambique this millennium, made landfall near the coastal city of Beira during the night of 14 March.
An estimated 1.85 million people were in the path of the cyclone and are now in need of humanitarian assistance. Roads, bridges and other vital infrastructure have been washed away, as have some 400,000 hectares (2,000 square miles) of crops – primarily maize. Other key livelihood sources, like livestock and fisheries, have also been badly affected.
The exact number of victims – currently standing at several hundreds but likely to increase – has not been established yet. The priority now is to prevent further deaths by providing life-saving food and health assistance to survivors.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has rolled out its emergency response in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, and is aiming to reach 1.7 million affected people.
What the World Food Programme is doing to respond to the Mozambique emergency
WFP is providing fortified wheat or corn-based porridge mix to displaced cyclone victims sheltering in schools and churches in and around Beira. WFP has also airlifted 60 metric tons of high energy biscuits, which have been airdropped to isolated pockets of people stranded by the floodwaters in Nhamatanda, Buzi and Chimoio.
Three MI-8 transport helicopters, deployed by the WFP-run United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), are being used to ferry food, water, medicines, tents and larger items like water purification units, as well as humanitarian personnel to isolated areas. One dedicated freight aircraft with a capacity of eight metric tons is also supporting the broader humanitarian community relief efforts.
Emergency telecommunications services
As lead of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster, WFP has been working to re-establish vital networks that can accelerate the response by government and humanitarian partners.