Natasha Kaplinsky: How makeshift school tents are rebuilding hope in Mozambique

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Broadcaster and Save the Children ambassador Natasha Kaplinsky on the threat facing children in Mozambique following Cyclone Idai, and why education is the key to recovery.

Natasha Kaplinsky with children taking part in a nutrition support group in Mozambique in 2012. Image: Sebastian Rich

Seven years ago I had the opportunity to witness Save the Children projects in Mozambique and I still remember the hope in children’s faces.

Now, just over two weeks since Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, the reality of the devastation is becoming apparent and that spark seems all but extinguished.

The UN estimates that 1.5 million of those affected across the three countries are children. Sadly one of the issues that aid workers are having to confront is protecting the most vulnerable young people, from direct exploitation by others and from harmful coping strategies that they are using to survive.

This might be coming with the best of motives – a single mother with five children allowing her 15-year-old daughter to be married to an older man, so there is one less mouth to feed, or asking her 12-year-old son to do manual labour to earn a few coins.

Lone children who have been separated from their families or even worse orphaned, are at risk of doing anything to survive, accepting money for sexual favours. They will be easy prey for sexual slavery traffickers, picked off by shady networks taking advantage of the chaos in the country.

These are not overblown concerns. Mozambique is one of the top 10 countries for child marriage – currently 48% of girls get married before the age of 18.

It is already seen as a social norm. This disaster can only increase those numbers. We have seen that after natural disasters these practices increase, as happened four years ago when the El Nino-induced drought affected the country.


Natasha Kaplinsky helps Zainabo Tchechere prepare a meal of cassava for the community in Ampivine, Mozambique in 2012. Image: Sebastian Rich

According to US Government statistics released last year, Mozambique is both a source and transit ground for men, women and children trafficked into forced labour and sexual slavery. It’s a high risk area.

At the moment in Mozambique, where 1 million children are in desperate need of assistance, we don’t have figures on how many are unaccompanied and alone.

Anecdotal reports suggest that there are more than 100 unaccompanied children in one group near Estaquinha and a further 80 together in Kopa township, half being put up in a school, the remainder with local people.

DEC member charities, such as Save the Children and World Vision, are prioritising their work with young people and single mothers with large families.

That includes providing more private, single sex shelters so they are not forced to share sleeping and living areas with men they do not know to reduce the risk of sexual violence; separate latrines and washing facilities for women and girls, and headlights to get them there safely in the dark.

Separately there is vital work going on to normalise life for children, which has a huge impact on the whole community.

Children play in a school hall badly damaged by Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique. Image: Karel Prinsloo

In Mozambique, some 3,300 schools have been destroyed, which means that more than 151,000 students no longer have a school to go to.

And many schools are being used as shelter for people who have been displaced. So education has been entirely disrupted.

Save the Children and World Vision have been identifying high risk areas and setting up temporary learning spaces in camps – small tents to carry out lessons for all age ranges of children.

Humanitarian workers have found that the presence of these mini-schools helps the whole community as a symbol of normal life resuming, aiding further recovery. Normalising life is fundamental – it grounds everyone.

We also need more child safe spaces to reduce the risk of kidnap and exploitation. Here, children in friendly groups can be taught about their rights, and that certain behaviour by adults is never acceptable, and what they can and should do if they fear it is happening, to help with early detection and prevention of abuse.

With all of these measures, the healing process can begin. These children can learn to be children once again - and that hope I saw in 2012 can be regained.

Please donate to the Cyclone Idai Appeal by clicking here.

Natasha Kaplinsky is one of the UK's best-known broadcasters. An ambassador for Save the Children since 2010, she has campaigned tirelessly for their causes, visiting Save the Children’s programmes around the world, including in India, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Jordan and in 2012 Mozambique.

 

 

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Trapped, hungry, homeless but resilient - six lives devastated by Cyclone Idai

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Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe killing at least 960 people and leaving 3 million in need of humanitarian assistance. The terrifying storm reached wind speeds of 177 km/h (110 mph) and flooding ripped apart roads, bridges, houses, schools and health facilities and created an inland lake more than twice the size of Greater Manchester.

Here are just some of the stories of people affected by the cyclone.

 

Rosa spent five days trapped in a tree with her husband and their five children

Rosa holds her son, John, who has a high fever as he is screened for malaria in Dondo, Mozambique. Image: Karel Prinsloo/DEC

“My name is Rosa, I do not know my age. I am here with my son and he is almost two. I live in Thika. We live in a traditional house made from grass and wood.”

Rosa escaped the flood waters that destroyed her home by climbing a tree. The flood waters had nowhere to go and Rosa and her husband along with their five children were trapped in the tree for five days.

“Now we are living in a camp in Thika. Three of the children are in Beira with family. When we were in the tree we did not eat anything, but one day a helicopter came to help us. They tried to take the kids but it was difficult so they threw us some biscuits. For drinking water we were catching the rainwater.”

Rosa is pictured holding her son, John, who was suffering from a high fever and was tested for malaria. John did not have malaria and was given some medication to bring down his temperature. DEC charities are working to bring much needed aid to people affected by Cyclone Idai, including essential medical assistance, but more is needed.

“I am asking help to have a house and some clothes. I have no clothes. We need blankets and a proper place to live.”

 

Clara is worried about providing for her family after Cyclone Idai destroyed her livelihood

Clara holds her son as she walks through standing water near her house in Beira City, Mozambique. Image: Karel Prinsloo/DEC

Clara is pictured here wading through the water near her flooded and badly damaged home in Beira, Mozambique. A single mother of five children, she is worried about how to rebuild her life following the cyclone.

"I woke up and the wind was blowing. I ran outside with my children. I have five children. My husband died a long time ago. We sought shelter. How will I live now? I used to sell bananas from a tree of mine. It is all gone. Who will help me now?”



Louis and Isabelle are worried about their relatives, who they haven’t heard from since the cyclone hit

Louis and Isabelle wait for news near the Beira port, Image: Corrie Butler/British Red Cross

Louis and Isabelle are pictured here with their four month old son, Cefas. Isabelle’s family lives in Buzi and she has not heard from them since the cyclone hit. Louis said: "We are very worried - Isabelle is very worried. But we are grateful that we are safe."

Like almost every building in Beria, their home was damaged in the cyclone. "The most valuable thing I lost was my books," said Louis, a student at the local university.



Shaud and her family lost their only source of income in the floods


Shaud stands in a field devastated by the cyclone. Image: Philip Hatcher-Moore/Oxfam

Shaud is pictured here standing among her destroyed crop field beside her home, a village 80km from Chimanimani in Zimbabwe. Her entire crop was destroyed just ahead of harvest time, while the flood also washed away most of her belongings.

Shaud escaped the storm with her four children and a few essentials (including their passports, birth certificates and a few blankets). They stayed with a neighbour for a week, whilst the water subsided. When they returned to their home, they were shocked by the level of destruction. Shaud said: "We lost everything. I have lost all hope. We don't know where to begin to fix all this."



As a mudslide approached her home, Lisper was forced to make a heart breaking decision

Lisper stands with her daughter Levette, who was rescued from a tree after being swept away by flood waters. Image: KB Mpofu/Christian Aid

Lisper was standing on her verandah with her children and some other local families near Chimanimani in Zimbabwe. The storm had been raging around them for some time, but then the water changed course and a mudslide headed straight for them.

"After a few moments of watching the mudslide approach, I decided that me and my kids should run," said Lisper. "I put the little baby on my back, and held the other two by hands.” 

“A few minutes later, I heard my eldest daughter (Levette) call out my name. She wanted my help. At that moment I had to make a quick decision, whether to go help her and risk losing the other three, or look after the other three and let her go. I chose to save the lives of the other three, it wasn't an easy decision.” 

“She called me five times. After those five times, she was gone. The water swept her away.”

“In the morning, I saw my husband come looking for us. My husband came bearing the good news that Levette had been found, she was rescued by a young man called Vincent. He took her down from the tree.”

After four days, Levette received medical treatment and is recovering. But Lisper and the family are still traumatised. "Most of those people that I was with on my veranda are gone," she said. "That haunts me. Everyday.”

 

Fraction and his grandson George have returned to their village to start rebuilding

Fraction and George stand amid their damaged crops after returning to their village. Image: Gavin Douglas/Concern Worldwide

Fraction and his grandson George have come back to their village and start repairing some of the damage done by Cyclone Idai after their family was evacuated to the nearest displacement camp.

"We managed to rescue some clothes and kitchen utensils but everything else has been washed away," said Fraction. Now, they must wait for the flood waters to recede before they can begin farming the land again.

 

Cyclone Idai is possibly the worst weather-related disaster to ever hit the southern hemisphere. The effects will be felt for some time across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The most immediate needs are emergency shelter, food, clean water and medical assistance. This aid is already getting through, but more is still needed.

In addition to answering the most urgent needs of people affected by the disaster, DEC charities will provide longer term aid to help people rebuild. For example a Red Cross field hospital has been set up in Beira to provide medical and surgical interventions, as well as inpatient and outpatient care to 30,000 people. Psychosocial support services will also be provided to communities.

Save the Children will provide Child Friendly Spaces for children and families who have lost their homes, alongside health and education services. Oxfam will be providing seeds and livestock to help people recover their livelihoods.

As people across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe begin to rebuild their lives, you can help. Donate to our appeal today.

You can see an interactive timeline of the cyclone and DEC charities response here.



 

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DEC aid agencies rush to respond as cholera cases jump from five to 138 in Mozambique

  • Mozambique’s government confirms increase from five to 138 cholera cases 
  • Aid agencies working round the clock to deliver clean water, safe handwashing facilities and toilets to prevent cholera deaths 
  • DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal raises £23 million so far (including £4 million UK Aid Match), but more help urgently needed 
  • B roll footage available here 

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) member agencies are setting up emergency toilets, clean water supplies and washing areas as Mozambique’s government confirms the number of cholera cases has increased to 138.  

Government officials confirmed today [Friday 29 March] 138 cases across two neighbourhoods of Mozambique’s port city of Beira.  

Monica Blagescu, DEC’s Director of Programmes and Accountability, said: 

“The flood waters may be receding but cyclone survivors are now facing the secondary threat of disease. We have heard of people drinking stagnant water from street puddles, which could be contaminated, and one shelter is home to 3,000 people with just six toilets. People are exhausted, hungry and more susceptible to infection, and lack of proper sanitation likely to only compound the risk that they face. Aid agencies are expanding their operations but there is an urgent need to get clean water, handwashing facilities and latrines to people in affected areas to prevent cholera and other water-borne diseases from spreading.” 

Oxfam’s aid workers in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe say that bore holes and water systems have been destroyed by floods. In Mozambique, there are reports of 10 families sharing single tents, creating cramped conditions which can increase the risk of cholera outbreaks. 

Oxfam is trucking clean water to areas affected by the cyclone, and is sending an additional 38 tonnes of equipment chartered directly to Beira from the UK, which will include over a thousand latrine slabs to build emergency toilets, more than 20 water bladder tanks, 10,000 jerry buckets, three desludging pumps with generators, and over a hundred tap stands. 

A British Red Cross team have arrived in Beira, Mozambique with equipment to provide sanitation for 20,000 people. The Red Cross field hospital recently set up in Beira has treatment ready for cholera and acute watery diarrhoea. Mozambique Red Cross volunteers, who are trained in cholera management and have experience from previous outbreaks, are distributing supplies of household water treatment, one of the most effective ways to prevent cholera.  

Tearfund, Action Aid, Plan International and Christian Aid are among the charities providing water purification tablets.   

Luke Tredget, British Red Cross Disaster Response Coordinator said: 

“Cholera is easily preventable in normal circumstances, but in the wake of the cyclone, thousands of people are living in temporary shelters, and water supplies are at greater risk of contamination from sewage. The British public are incredibly generous and demonstrating their compassion by donating to the DEC appeal. But more is needed, because the scale of the problem is so vast, stretching across three countries. Families need clean water, toilets and handwashing facilities to survive. And they need them now.” 

ENDS 

For media enquires contact:   020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours)   

Donations can be made at www.dec.org.uk or by calling 0370 60 60 610  

** Spokespeople, recent photos and footage are available **  

 

Notes to editors: 

Six facts about cholera: 

  1. It causes acute diarrhoea, which can kill within hours. 
  2. It is caused by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with Vibrio cholera, bacteria found in faeces. 
  3. There are up to 4 million cases of cholera each year and up to 143,000 deaths (World Health Organisation statistic). 
  4. Provision of safe water and sanitation is essential to control the transmission of cholera. 
  5. Eighty per cent of cases can be treated with oral rehydration solution. More severe cases need rapid treatment with IV drips and antibiotics. 
  6. It tends to affect the world’s poorest people. There was an outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe in 2018. 
  • Media enquiries please call 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours). 
  • UK Aid Match enquiries should be directed to the Department for International Development. Please call 0207 023 0600 (24 hour). 
  • At times of very great need, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) brings together a unique alliance of the UK’s leading aid agencies and broadcasters to maximise fundraising and quickly deliver effective emergency relief. The DEC brings together 14 major UK aid agencies: Action Against Hunger, Action Aid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK. 
  • Through UK Aid Match the Department for International Development gives the British public the opportunity to decide how the UK aid budget is spent and support people in desperate need in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe by matching their donations pound-for-pound up to £4 million. UK Aid Match has increased the impact of a number of DEC appeals to help those in need around the world, including most recently to support people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia in 2018. 
  • To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.  
  • Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters. 
  • To donate £5 text SUPPORT to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC CYCLONE IDAI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk.  
    • £30 can provide blankets to keep two families warm. 
    • £50 could provide a family with food for one month. 
    • £100 could help build toilet and washing facilities for families who lost their homes. 

 

Cyclone Idai: 'Families are living in the husks of what is left'

Claire Rogers, CEO of World Vision Australia, reports from Beira, Mozambique, where Cyclone Idai destroyed as much as 90% of the city.
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Claire Rogers, CEO of World Vision Australia, was in Beira, Mozambique, where Cyclone Idai destroyed as much as 90% of the city.


World Vision Australia’s CEO Claire Rogers in Beira, Mozambique which has been devastated by Cyclone Idai. Image: Paco Anselmi/World Vision

Littered with broken trees and damaged buildings, the Mozambican city of Beira looks like a war zone – but it’s a testament to its citizens that the clean up after Cyclone Idai has begun.

When I first arrived, it felt like some sort of beast had been on a rampage. In fact, on the flight into the disaster zone an evacuee returning to the city described the demonic noises he experienced as the wind tried to rip the doors and shutters off the house. It made a chilling entry to Beira.

Children, who should be in school, have been helping to shift the detritus that lies among the ripped down telephone and power poles. This catastrophe has killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands across southern Africa. The final death toll is likely to climb.

Without an urgent improvement in the sanitary conditions it is only a matter of time before water-borne diseases spread, potentially killing more children. The biggest concern is for an outbreak of cholera, which is caused when faecal matter corrupts the drinking water. It’s deadly and spreads easily in crowded situations like displacement camps. Cases have already been confirmed in Beira. Malaria is also a real risk as mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water and multiply. Malaria is already endemic. With health centres and hospitals damaged, a second humanitarian catastrophe of sickness and death is a real risk.

People walk down a damaged street in a residential area of Beira, Mozambique after Cyclone Idai hit the city. Image: Josh Estey/CARE.

Despite the threats, people are doing what they can to clean up, often with limited access to building materials which the poorest cannot afford. Chainsaws can be heard all around, and in the poorer shanty areas survivors are taking the ruined debris of their buildings and using what they can rescue to make repairs.  But it is going to take months to fix the health centres, hospitals and schools that have been torn apart. Families live in the husks of what is left.

I visited one city school where hundreds of people – largely women and children – were sheltering having been displaced. They were crammed into four or five classrooms, sharing just a few toilets. It’s a very difficult place for a family to feel safe.

Aid organisations and the UN are ramping up the delivery of assistance with cargo planes bringing aid from international warehouses, the capital Maputo and elsewhere. Ships are also moving goods into Beira port. The international aid effort is in full swing. The big drive now is to feed the aid out into the urban and rural communities where people have been patiently waiting for support.

Up until now helicopters have been delivering packs of high-energy biscuits to families in remote and broken settlements. Now that the roads have reopened and the floodwaters have gone down, aid is able to reach remote communities at a much larger scale.

As often happens, these crises push the very poorest into absolute poverty and break any chance they might have had of escaping it. The cyclone and floods destroyed the crops that poor communities hoped would feed them through the next few months. The aid community is going to have to support thousands of families to get them through this difficult time, and provide the financial or agricultural assistance to allow them to buy seeds and re-plant.

World Vision and so many other agencies are working around the clock to ensure that we reach those affected by the devastating cyclone and floods, and to prevent a second health-related humanitarian crisis.

If we don’t act now, more people will die and children will lose their chance to get back on their feet. 

World Vision is among 14 organisations that have launched a joint appeal under the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), which brings together leading aid agencies at times of crisis overseas. If you wish to donate, please click here. 

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Amount raised for DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal climbs to £18 million

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal to help people affected by Cyclone Idai has raised £18 million since launching on Thursday 21 March. £8 million was raised in the appeal’s first 24 hours, with a further £10 million added to the total in the three days since.

The UK Government matched pound for pound £4 million donated by the public to the DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal.

Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe more than a week ago, leaving behind a trail of destruction, and killing more than 700 people. Strong winds and widespread flooding ripped apart roads, bridges, houses, schools and health facilities and submerged vast swathes of agricultural land. 

DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “As always the British public has been hugely generous, and we are so very grateful for their donations. The full scale of the disaster in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe has yet to become clear but we do know that this is developing into one of the most pressing humanitarian emergencies in the world at the moment. Whilst conditions remain challenging, aid is getting through and DEC members are working hard to reach those who so desperately need help.”

DEC member charities are working closely with national partners to support the rescue and relief effort, delivering clean water, emergency shelter materials and blankets, food such as pulses and maize flour, and urgent health assistance. 

The appeal has received the backing of a number of high-profile figures on Twitter including Raymond Blanc, Alesha Dixon, JB Gill, Bear Grylls, Shobna Gulati, Myleene Klass, Annie Lennox, Adrian Lester, Simon Pegg, James Purefoy and Emma Watson.

Stay up to date with developments in the affected areas, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: www.twitter.com/decappeal or on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Media enquiries please call 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours).
  • UK Aid Match enquiries should be directed to the Department for International Development. Please call 0207 023 0600 (24 hour).
  • At times of very great need, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) brings together a unique alliance of the UK’s leading aid agencies and broadcasters to maximise fundraising and quickly deliver effective emergency relief. The DEC brings together 14 major UK aid agencies: Action Against Hunger, Action Aid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.
  • Through UK Aid Match the Department for International Development gives the British public the opportunity to decide how the UK aid budget is spent and support people in desperate need in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe by matching their donations pound-for-pound up to £4 million. UK Aid Match has increased the impact of a number of DEC appeals to help those in need around the world, including most recently to support people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia in 2018.
  • To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’. 
  • Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters.
    To donate £5 text SUPPORT to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC CYCLONE IDAI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk.
    - £30 can provide blankets to keep two families warm.
    - £50 could provide a family with food for one month.
    - £100 could help build toilet and washing facilities for families who lost their homes.

 

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to launch Cyclone Idai Appeal

Media Contacts: 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours) 
Donations can be made at www.dec.org.uk or by calling 0370 60 60 610

** Spokespeople, recent photos and footage are available **

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to launch Cyclone Idai Appeal 

Leading UK aid agencies will launch a joint fundraising appeal on Thursday 21 March 2019 to help people suffering in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai which has swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving behind a trail of destruction, killed hundreds of people and affected an estimated 2.6 million people.

Houses, roads and bridges have been ripped apart and agricultural land is completely submerged. More than 480 people are confirmed dead and 400,000 have lost their homes.

The full scale of the disaster is still unfolding as search and rescue operations continue and more heavy rain is predicted. The UN predicts that this may become one of the worst weather-related disasters on record in the southern hemisphere.

DEC members are working closely with national partners to support the relief effort, delivering emergency shelter kits, food such as pulses and maize flour, water purification tablets and urgent health assistance.

The BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky will be broadcasting appeals tomorrow (21 March) in support of DEC fundraising.

Every pound donated by the UK public will be matched by the UK government through its Aid Match scheme up to the value of £2 million. This new support will double the impact of the public’s own donations and will ensure that charities working on the ground can reach the men, women and children who have been left homeless and are in urgent need of food, water and temporary shelter.

To make a donation to the DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. To donate £5 text SUPPORT to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC CYCLONE IDAI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk

Stay up to date with developments in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: www.twitter.com/decappeal or on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Media enquiries please call 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014, 07855 860 810, 07827 998 022 or 07956 597 770.
  • UK Aid Match enquiries should be directed to the Department for International Development. Please call 0207 023 0600 (24 hour).
  • At times of very great need, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) brings together a unique alliance of the UK’s leading aid agencies and broadcasters to maximise fundraising and quickly deliver effective emergency relief. The DEC brings together 14 major UK aid agencies: Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK. 
  • Through UK Aid Match the Department for International Development gives the British public the opportunity to decide how the UK aid budget is spent and support people in desperate need by matching their donations pound-for-pound up to £2 million. This has increased the impact of a number of DEC appeals to help those in need around the world, including most recently to support people affected by the earthquake in Indonesia.
  • To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’. 
  • Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters.
  • To donate £5 text SUPPORT to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC CYCLONE IDAI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk.
    • £30 can provide blankets to keep two families warm.
    • £50 could provide a family with food for one month.
    • £100 could help build toilet and washing facilities for families who lost their homes.

       

Cyclone Idai Appeal

A cyclone swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Hundreds of people have been killed and around 3 million need help.
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In March, Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Across the three countries at least 900 people have been killed and around 3 million desperately need help.

Just a few weeks later Cyclone Kenneth followed Cyclone Idai. This is the first time in recorded history that two strong tropical cyclones have hit Mozambique in the same season, further weakening the country's ability to respond to the destruction cause by Idai.

Cyclone Idai brought strong winds and widespread flooding ripping apart roads, bridges, houses, schools and health facilities and submerged vast swathes of agricultural land.

As flood levels recede, work to clear debris, reopen roads and reconnect electricity and water supplies is underway. Some people who fled their homes as flood waters rose are returning home but more than 230,000 remain displaced across three countries and are living in communal sites such as schools and churches.

A growing number of cholera cases have been confirmed and there is a high risk of outbreaks of other waterborne diseases as supplying clean water remains a significant challenge.

With the aid effort fully underway, DEC charities, working closely with national partners to support government-led relief efforts, are prioritising the delivery of clean water, building toilets and handwashing facilities to tackle the outbreak of cholera. They are also delivering emergency shelter materials and blankets, food such as pulses and maize flour, and urgent health assistance. Focusing on longer-term food security and rehabilitation of livelihoods is paramount and some members are already providing seeds and tools to communities.

With the country reeling from yet another natural disaster, resources in Mozambique are now even more limited. The situation is severe and the response capacity is overwhelmed. Further donations are needed to continue reaching the survivors of Cyclone Idai.

People need help now. Please donate today.

Image: CARE/Josh Estey

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DEC closely monitoring impact of latest tsunami in Indonesia

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is closely monitoring the impact of the second major tsunami to hit Indonesia in the past three months. At least 430 people have been reported killed and hundreds more injured after the tsunami hit the coastline of the Sunda Strait, which separates the Indonesia islands of Java and Sumatra.

The country’s disaster management agency says hundreds of buildings have also been damaged by the tsunami, which may have been caused by undersea landslides triggered by the new eruptions of the Anak Krakatau volcano near the strait. High tides may also have increased the impact of the wave.

The DEC, through its member agencies, is already delivering humanitarian aid to communities in the Sulawesi province of Indonesia that was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in late September, which killed more than 2,100 people, injured thousands more and made tens of thousands homeless. The DEC has raised more than £25 million so far for September’s disaster which is now being used by its member charities to provide shelter, clean water and sanitation to survivors, alongside a range of measures to help affected communities rebuild.

As the impact of the Anak Krakatau disaster becomes clearer, it is possible that the DEC’s member charities may use funds from the current Indonesia Tsunami Appeal to assist the latest emergency response in the most badly affected areas of the Sunda Strait. The decision will be informed by the latest information from the ground from the DEC’s members in Indonesia, the Indonesian government and other international relief agencies. You can give now to our Indonesia Tsunami Appeal at www.dec.org.uk.

This article was updated on 02/01/19 to reflect the updated death toll announced by the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency.

Update 31/01/2019: A small amount of the funds raised from the DEC’s Indonesia Tsunami Appeal will be used to support the response to December’s tsunami in the Sunda Strait.

 

 

Fleeing the liquid ground: One family’s terrifying escape from liquefaction

A phenomenon called liquefaction contributed to the destruction caused by the earthquake in Indonesia in September. One family recounts their incredible escape as their village sank into the ground.
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A phenomenon called liquefaction contributed to the destruction caused by the earthquake in Indonesia in September. One family recounts their incredible escape as their village sank into the ground.

Dewi, right, was pulled out of the mud by her hair after she sank up to her neck. Image: Kathleen Prior/DEC.

The earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on 28th September was devastating for many reasons, including the unexpected tsunami that struck the coast, including the regional capital of Palu.

But another reason the earthquake was so destructive was that it triggered a rare phenomenon called liquefaction where the solid ground turns to liquid mud - like quicksand. Sisters Ani and Nuri lived in Petobo, a village that was entirely destroyed by liquefaction.

“I saw ahead our neighbours’ house opposite just disappeared,” says Ani. “It just got sucked into the ground. And the coconut trees were moving towards us. We didn't know what was happening.” The sisters fled with their Ani’s daughter and her children.


A video report from the Wall Street Journal featuring footage of liquefaction near Palu.

“The ground was turning to liquid, so every time we tried to take a step our feet would disappear into the ground and we would start to sink,” says Ani who can’t tell the story without crying. “The mud, it was warm too. We kept sinking in and sometimes we would realise we were walking on the roofs of houses that had been sucked under.”

Hundreds of missing people are feared to be buried in the mud at Petobo, which has now become a place of memorial. Flags have been planted at the site reading “rest in peace”. In total, 2,100 people are known to have died in Sulawesi as a result of the earthquake, while 1,300 are still missing.


The site of the village of Petobo, which was destroyed by liquefaction. Image: Kathleen Prior/DEC.

As the family fled, their granddaughter, Dewi*, aged just two and a half, was sucked into the mud up to her neck and in desperation, Nuri pulled her out by her hair. “I grabbed her hair and yanked, until I could grasp her round the chin to get her out as the mud sucked her down,” says Nuri. At one point Ani also sank to her chest but was rescued by other people fleeing.

Liquefaction can occur when an earthquake strikes a place that rests on sediment, rather than rock, that is saturated with water. Thankfully it is quite rare, but it was observed in the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 in New Zealand, caused much destruction in the Tangshan earthquake in 1976 in China, and contributed to the damage caused by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Ani (centre) and Nuri (right) with their sister Nur-Ain (left) outside their tent at a displaced persons camp near Petobo. Image: Kathleen Prior/DEC.

It took the family eight terrifying hours to find safety as they were caught in the swirling mud, the ground moving under their feet, but thankfully they all escaped. They now live in a camp for displaced people, and thanks to your donations, are receiving help from a local partner of the British Red Cross to help them deal with the trauma of their ordeal, including access to a child-friendly space where Dewi can learn and play.

“The community are so happy to receive this assistance… Thank you very much for the assistance given to us here in the shelters,” says Ani.

Thanks to your generous support we have now raised over £25 million for our Indonesia Tsunami Appeal, helping thousands of people affected, like Ani, Nuri and Dewi. However, the level of devastation is so great, that families like theirs are still living in tents, reliant on aid agencies while their community rebuilds.


"I grabbed her by the hair, pulled as hard as I could." A video interview with Ani and Nuri.

DEC charities have been helping survivors from the moment the earthquake struck, and plan to continue to provide access to clean water after pipes and sewer systems were destroyed, as well as providing shelter and a range of other interventions including support to help rebuild people’s livelihoods.

In the first six months of the response, 10,000 families will be provided with access to clean water, while 6,900 families will receive emergency shelters and 4,000 families will receive training in how to rebuild safer housing in case disaster strikes again.

In addition, 5,000 families will receive support to help rebuild their livelihoods, 8,000 children will receive school materials to help them start learning again, while more than 9,000 households will receive cash support so that they can prioritise their own immediate needs while supporting the local economy.

The road to recovery for the region will be a long one, after such a devastating disaster, but your support is helping to put survivors back on their feet and help them begin to rebuild their lives and communities. Thank you for your support.

*The names of children have been changed.

Our Indonesia Tsunami Appeal is still open. Click here to donate and help survivors like Ani, Nuri and Dewi.

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Indonesia tsunami: As threat of disease looms, safe water and hygiene are key to saving the survivors

After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia, survivors are now threatened by the spread of disease.
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After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia, survivors are now threatened by the spread of disease.

Indonesia tsunamiA boy stands infornt a stranded ship after hit by the tsunami on October 2, 2018 in Donggala, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Image:Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images.

As the waters slowly recede and the true extent of the devastation continues to emerge following Indonesia’s deadly earthquake and tsunami, urgent action is needed to ensure that a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene don’t spark outbreaks of deadly diseases in disaster-ravaged communities.

Decimated infrastructure and dirty conditions mean diseases that cause diarrhoea which are transmitted through bad hygiene can cause up to 40% of all deaths in the immediate aftermath of an emergency.

DEC members and their local partners are working around the clock to reach families who have lost everything in the disaster and keep the threat of a health crisis at bay.

Andi Dyah, a water and sanitation specialist with Save the Children’s local partner in Indonesia, described the scale of the problem: “In and around Palu, the network of water pipes has been smashed to pieces. Toilets have been destroyed. Treatment facilities are broken, meaning there’s no way to treat human waste. Water taken from local sources is often brown and filled with sediment, which is incredibly dangerous for human consumption.

Andi Dyah working for Save the Children in Fiji in 2016. Image: Rob McKechnie/Save the Children.

“We’re seeing more and more people reporting cases of diarrhoea. This is incredibly worrying for children, who are more likely to succumb to dehydration or malnutrition because of diarrhoea. With open defecation the only option for many families, we have a health crisis waiting.

“If consistent supplies of clean drinking water can’t be established quickly, we’re going to see a significant increase in cases of diarrhoea in the coming days and weeks, as well as other illnesses like water-borne diseases.

“Being from Sulawesi myself, it’s hard to believe what has happened. It breaks my heart to see so many people suffering. It’s going to take a long time to recover. For me personally it means so much to be here as part of the humanitarian response.”

In the face of this threat, DEC members across the board are rapidly scaling up their water, sanitation and hygiene responses.

Basics like soap, buckets and tarpaulins can be the key to saving lives. But it is also vital to re-establish safe water supplies.

Save the Children, though its local partner,has distributed a shipment of hygiene kits, fresh water kits and shelter kits. Daily distributions planned over the coming weeks.

Access to clean drinking water is a priority for DEC member charities as diseases that cause diarrhoea can be deadly for children. Image: Adi Hutomo/Wahana Visi Indonesia.

In addition, the British Red Cross is mobilizing water trucks; Islamic relief are distributing toiletries and bottled water; Oxfam plan to provide toilets and hygiene kits and Plan International Indonesia has distributed tarpaulins to shield bathing spaces so girls and women will feel safe and secure while washing.

At time of writing the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi stands at more than 1,700 – with 5,000 people thought to be missing. But as aid workers and rescuers continue to reach areas previously inaccessible due to the destruction, the full

scale of the disaster is only just becoming clear. Sadly, numbers of those killed and injured are expected to climb still higher.

You can donate to the DEC's Indonesia Tsunami Appeal here.

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