“We gave birth to triplets while Tropical Storm Ana ripped off parts of the roof” – Nurse
“The night the storm hit, we were helping a mother give birth to triplets while the health center was flooded and strong winds blew off parts of the roof. The situation was scary, but we were very lucky. The mother and her three babies survived,” said Filomena Aibo Joao, a nurse at Alto Benfica Health Center in Mocuba District.
Tropical Storm Ana made landfall on January 24 in Angoche District, coastal Nampula Province. It then moved west toward Zambezia and Tete provinces, causing flooding, severe damage to public infrastructure and homes, and disruption to basic services. The storm caused widespread damage in the provinces of Zambezia, Nampula and Tete, and to a lesser extent in the provinces of Sofala, Niassa and Cabo Delgado.
“My house collapsed on me after I managed to get my children out,” said Florinda Culosa, 48, from Zambezia’s Mocuba district. Florinda had taken shelter in the house she shared with her six children and two grandchildren and was injured when it fell on her.
“I am very sad that I lost my house. Now I am asking for support so that we can move forward with our lives.”
I am very sad that I lost my house.
Lives, homes and health centers destroyed
UNFPA Mozambique supports the Mozambique government’s efforts to help the affected populations in several provinces, including Zambezia, where more than 58,000 people have been affected, 52 injured, nearly 3,000 homes destroyed and 17 health centers damaged (INGD, January 31).
UNFPA joined the province’s recently established multi-sectoral needs assessment team (consisting of provincial authorities and humanitarian partners) on a mission to the Namungaine community in the Mugeba neighborhood of Mocuba District, where, according to the district medical director, Dr. Leonodo Janeiro, 17 families lost their homes and three people were injured.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) expressed concern about the impact of the storm and the limited resources available to respond to the needs of vulnerable populations already affected by previous natural disasters and the conflict in the northern region. According to the National Institute for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction (INGD) in Mozambique, more than 141,000 people were affected (29,000 families), 220 people were injured and 25 people died (INGD, as of January 31). 30 health centers were also damaged. Persistent heavy rains have worried people in low-lying areas.
Supporting the most vulnerable women and girls
Through humanitarian funding, the UNFPA country office in Mozambique is currently helping the government to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and protection services for the most vulnerable populations, particularly women and girls of childbearing age. Of the total people affected by Tropical Storm Ana, an estimated 34,000 are women of reproductive age and 4,000 are pregnant women (minimum initial services package calculation) who require reproductive health services.
To improve preparedness and response efforts with a particular focus on the sexual and reproductive health needs of affected women and girls, UNFPA supported efforts to assess the inventory of contraceptives and maternal health medicines at the Mocuba District Medical Camp , which is operated by the Health Services of the Zambezia Province (SPS) and Mozambique’s Central Medical Stores (CMAM). These contraceptives and medical items are being made available to the affected population through mobile brigades set up to provide sexual and reproductive health services in the most remote affected areas.
As part of UNFPA’s response in Tete province, mobile clinics resumed services in Doa district on January 25 after heavy rains abated to ensure continuity of reproductive health services for Ana-affected populations. The mobile clinics, organized as part of the My Choice project with support from the Embassy of the Netherlands in Mozambique, aim to provide ongoing sexual and reproductive health and family planning services to communities that may be isolated due to the flooding.
Working with government partners, UNFPA will be distributing several thousand Dignity Kits to vulnerable women and girls affected by the storm over the coming weeks to support their needs around menstrual hygiene, hygiene and feminine dignity – with items such as reusable menstrual pads and Underwear – and to support safety and security with whistles and flashlights to help them at night, giving women like Florinda (and her daughters) one less thing to worry about.
Ensuring the continuity of services
Several tents (24 square meters each) will be shipped this week, including to Zambezia, to be made available to damaged health centers to support the continued delivery of services. Auxiliary materials and support for personnel involved in the response are provided by the Norwegian government, the UNFPA Emergency Response Fund and the Austrian government for assessments and related support in Nampula Province.
UNFPA in Mozambique continues to unveil reproductive health kits, tents, dignity kits and other supplies to provide a rapid response during the cyclone season. This preparation is appropriate as another tropical cyclone, Batsirai, has formed and could also hit Mozambique in the second week of February.
Expanding support for the most vulnerable remains crucial. For women like Florinda, improved access to health services through mobile clinics and dignified care will increase their autonomy and ability to protect themselves.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNFPA – East and Southern Africa.
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