“I had to tie my children to the tree with their own clothes”
32-year-old Josias Fernando and his family were forced to search for shelter due to the impact cyclone Idai had in their community of Matarara, in Manica province. An estimated 1.9 million people are affected of which 1 million are children. Thousands are feared dead and displaced.
"When the cyclone idai hit my community it quickly flooded my home and we had to climb on to trees to escape. We stayed 3 nights alone on that tree, I have tied the children to the tree with their own clothes to prevent them from falling into the water," said 32-year-old survivor Josias Fernando. © UNICEF Moçambique/2019/Javier Rodriguez
A week has passed since Cyclone IDAI furiously hit Mozambique, and there are millions of people, like Josias, in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. New temporary and improvised shelters are “discovered” each day in communities that are now accessible by road.
The Matarara primary school is one of these improvised shelters, and has now received humanitarian assistance, including a UNICEF sponsored health and nutrition mobile outreach team, from the Ministry of Health, that is providing basic primary care to the population.
Josias is receiving medical care as he suffered injuries and muscular lesions as a consequence of trying to support his family. He’s accompanied by his little 3-year-old son João who has a respiratory infection. © UNICEF Moçambique/2019/Javier Rodriguez
We met Josias while he was visiting the health tent to receive care because, during the 3 days that they remained on the trees, he suffered injuries and muscular lesions as a consequence of trying to support his family. He’s accompanied by his little 3-year-old son João who has a respiratory infection, that is also been treated by the health outreach team.
An estimated 1.9 million people are affected of which 1 million are children. Thousands are feared dead and displaced. “The situation is serious, and UNICEF and its partners are supporting the Government to bring urgent life-saving support to the affected population, including clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as medical care,” said Marcoluigi Corsi, UNICEF Mozambique Representative.
UNICEF is providing support to the Government of Mozambique to reestablish primary healthcare services, including vaccination and prevention and treatment of malaria for affected communities and to ensure critical health supplies are available for outreach services. UNICEF is also helping to address nutritional status of under 5-year-old ensuring HIV integration in programming, including treatment of children with severe acute malnutrition and encouraging continue infant feeding practices.
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