Cyclone Idai: “Nothing left to feed my children”

 Emergency Response
 16th Apr 2019

By Aderito Bie, Communications Officer, CARE Mozambique

Margarida Albino is sitting next to the floodwaters that have engulfed the grounds where her house once stood. 

She came to see, if she can rescue some of her belongings, but now she is realizing that she lost everything.  She is not alone in this predicament, over a one hundred people in this tiny 

village of Tica - roughly 80 kilometres from the city of Beira – have had similar losses after Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique last month.

At night, Margarida and her five children now sleep on a sandy floor of a makeshift home she was able to build with the help of her neighbours. They have no blankets.

“I lost all of my belongings: my clothes, my goats, chicken, ducks and crops,” she explains. “I used to harvest rice, bananas, sugar cane and other crops, but everything has been washed away. We have no stock and I have nothing left to feed my children.”

With winds of over 200 kilometres per hour, Idai was the worst cyclones to hit this battered coastline in a decade. More than one million people are still in need of humanitarian assistance in Mozambique. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, crops have been destroyed and livelihoods lost.

Margarida adds: “Before the cyclone I produced enough rice for my family and was also able to start a small business selling my harvest. Now, we don’t know how to survive.

“We urgently need seeds for replanting our crops. Now, there is still hope, but if we can’t get seeds there will be only hunger, especially affecting our children.” 

Until the next harvest, hunger will be a real threat in this part of the world. More than 10,000 children in the cyclone affected areas are already facing severe acute malnutrition and food insecurity is expected to rise. Most areas in Beira are fertile for arable agriculture, and the March/April months are usually harvest time. But cyclone Idai destroyed more than 700,000 hectares of crops including maize, ground nut, cassava, beans and rice.

The World Bank estimates the direct economic losses from Cyclone Idai in Mozambique ranges from US$656 million- USD$773 million, covering damage to buildings, infrastructure and agriculture.

But it is the poor small holder farmer in this part of the country who feel the worst pinch. About 80 per cent of the farmers in Mozambique rely on the crops to provide for their families. One month after the cyclone, many farmers are still waiting for the floodwater to recede to be able to replant seeds.

CARE has already reached close to 22,000 people in Mozambique with food like maize, beans and rice as well as clean water and hygiene items. In the upcoming months, CARE is planning to scale-up its response aiming to distribute short and long cycle crops to help farmers replant their fields.

Learn more about CARE's work in Mozambique.



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