Together for Mozambique
On March 15th, a cyclone devastated parts of Mozambique, destroying the homes and livelihoods of many farming families.
WEEK 1 —
We can confirm that all 47 iDE staff members in Mozambique are safe. The staff members working in Beira, one of the hardest hit cities, were moved to Maputo and Chimoio. Many of their homes were destroyed in the cyclone. One of our colleagues faced a harrowing journey across a flooded river in a canoe to get to Chimoio where she is now safe. After days of not being able to reach our field officer in Nhamatanda because of downed cell phone and power lines, we were finally able to make contact. He is now safe in Chimoio.
iDE staff members rally their local connections to support immediate relief efforts in and around Beira, organizing a container full of supplies to meet basic needs.
Field teams attempt to reach families we work with in the provinces of Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambezia. (See gallery of their photos above)
- In Nhamatanda, the situation is quite severe, as roads and bridges have been washed away and the flooding continues as dams in northern Zimbabwe have opened their flood gates. The bridge connecting Chimoio and Sofala-Beira is severely damaged, preventing iDE staff from getting to our office in Beira. Our field teams have not made contact with farmers here yet.
- In Sussundenga, the bridge connecting iDE field officers to farmers collapsed, preventing us from reaching those people.
- In Messica Manica, the team was able to connect with one Farm Business Advisor Berta.
“My family and I are ok, though we have no idea of the situation in our fields. I suspect that there is disaster since the bridge that connects us to our fields is flooded and we cannot cross,” said Berta, a Farm Business Advisor we work with.
- Teams were able to reach Gondola and Macate and check-in with farmers there. However, their farms and homes are in very bad shape.
“The whole village is devastated. We are living in fear as you can see many houses have fallen,” said Teresa, a Farm Business Advisor we work with. "There is no more food. If we go to our gardens, there is no sign to show that something existed before. My 10 chickens were swept away by the floods. I don’t know where to start.”
“We have no hope. All the crops have been destroyed,” said the husband of Eliza, a Farm Business Advisor. Eliza has a weekly delivery to a restaurant called Maua. Because all of her crops have been destroyed she went to a market to buy produce for the restaurant. “We cannot afford to lose Maua, our reliable market. That is why we are sacrificing to buy supplies for Maua at the market.”
WEEK 2 —
iDE launches a global fundraising campaign to support the long-term recovery efforts of the communities we serve in Mozambique.
Geopoll releases data from a mobile survey of 700 individuals living in areas affected by the cyclone and where iDE works.
- 78% in Sofala do not have access to clean drinking water.
- 78% in Sofala do not have access to electricity.
- 85% total say they had damages to their home, with 39% characterizing damages as major – in Sofala, 90% had damages, with 56% saying they are major damages.
- Just 19% overall and 12% in Sofala have received aid since the cyclone.
- Aid most needed is quite split with 32% saying food is most needed, followed by shelter at 18% and cash at 16%. In Sofala they say food aid is needed more, at 40%, followed by clean water at 19% and cash and shelter both at 13%.
- In terms of food security, 75% report they have eaten fewer meals on 3 or more days in the past week. In Sofala 77% have eaten fewer meals on 3 or more days, and 10% have eaten fewer meals on 7 of the past 7 days.
The World Food Program releases its first estimates of people in need of food assistance. Below are the areas that iDE works and is targeting long-term relief and recovery:
- In the areas where we work in Sofala, the population is approximately 1.7 million people. Nearly 50% of people are in need of assistance with 650,000 in need of food specifically.
- In the areas where we work in Manica, the population is approximately 1.3 million people. Nearly 35% of people are in need of assistance with 450,000 in need of food specifically.
- In the areas where we work in Zambezia, the population is approximately 1.4 million people. Nearly 20% of people are in need of assistance with 150,000 in need of food specifically.
- In the areas where we work in Tete, the population is approximately 730,000 people. Estimates on percentage of people in need are still forthcoming.
WEEK 3 —
iDE field staff were able to reach some communities and assess the damage. Many of the Farm Business Advisors we work with have lost everything—their homes, shops, and crops. Cellphone networks are working again, and even though we weren't able to reach all Farm Business Advisors' farms, we were able to speak to many on the phone.
Number of Farm Business Advisor clients affected: 1,849
Number of farmer field school clients affected: 971
Percentage of farm area destroyed:
- Macate: 52%
- Gondola: 91%
- Chimoio: 86%
- Vanduzi: 64%
- Sussundenga: 41%
In the coming weeks, we will continue to try to make contact with the farmers that we were unable to reach and try to assess farms that are currently inaccessible. Following those assessments, we will carry out a plan to help these farming families begin to recover and rebuild.
We were able to reach many of the Farm Business Advisors and farmers that we work with and do a general assessment of the damage to their homes and businesses. Nearly all were affected by Cyclone Idai.
Major threats for the rural areas that were most affected are famine due to the destruction of crops and ultimately the migration to urban areas. To ensure these regions become food secure, our team is working to connect farmers with the resources they need to rebuild and begin growing again through mobile agricultural input supply fairs that will travel through the most affected regions.
Another outcome of the storm's destruction is the decrease in revenue for private sector agricultural companies that Farm Business Advisors partner with to sell products to farmers. Farm Business Advisors are the pillars of many of these companies, giving them access to customers that they wouldn't otherwise have. The iDE staff is currently facilitating negotiations to keep these partnerships active and develop opportunities for Farm Business Advisors to continue accessing these resources while also balancing the financial burden of having to rebuild their own farms and homes.
Before the storm, many Farm Business Advisors had taken out loans through our partnership with KIVA to expand their businesses.
“I don’t even know how I will deal with this kind of trauma and devastation after losing four closest family members who were swept away by the floods. The pain no one can understand, only God knows.”
— Paul, Farm Business Advisor, whose farm was completely submerged in water.