Cyclone-hit Mozambique needs climate justice, not debt

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Just five weeks after Cyclone Idai, Mozambique has been hit with another cyclone. Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in Cabo Delgado late on Thursday 25th April 2019 and saw the Southern African country lashed by winds of 160 km/h (100 mph).

A life-threatening storm surge of 3-5 meters (10-16 feet) occurred along the coast, with nearby areas now facing severe flooding.

Up to now the districts of Ibo, Quissanga and Macomia are the worst affected. In Macomia alone, 38 people are currently known to have been killed, more than 1600 homes destroyed and thousands are stranded as the Muagamula river has cut off access.  

ActionAid is present in Mueda, Chiure, Metuge and Pemba, districts badly affected by the cyclone. An emergency response team is assessing the situation. ActionAid has well-established projects in Mozambique and have been responding already in areas affected by Cyclone Idai, distributing relief items including hygiene kits, aqua-tablets for water purification, water containers, blankets, clothes, food and tents.

Commenting, Gaspar Sitefane, ActionAid’s Country Director in Mozambique, said:

“Heavy rain is continuing to cause havoc in coastal Mozambique following Cyclone Kenneth, with many people still stranded and waiting for rescue. Roads are cut off with rivers flooding and sanitation services have been wiped out, which is an enormous risk to public health. Thousands of people that survived Cyclone Idai contracted cholera which is deadly in conditions where people lose everything, including access to clean water. We are extremely concerned this will happen again, only worse.

“ActionAid is particularly concerned about the impact on women, many of whom depend on agriculture and have lost their livelihood. They must be prioritized in any emergency response.

“Although the government’s temporary shelters are almost full, we know that people people who remained at home are still stranded and in dire need of assistance, with food and healthcare being the most urgent needs.

“It’s remarkable that Mozambique has been forced to taken on more IMF loans to recover from Cyclone Idai, instead of receiving debt relief and grants from the rich governments that have caused the climate crisis in the first place. ActionAid is campaigning for Climate Justice, which means Climate Finance: provided by those that caused global warming, given to those whose homes are literally being swept away as a result.”


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Notes to editors

1. ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty in over 40 countries. Our dedicated local staff are helping end violence against women and girls and changing lives, for good. We won’t stop until women and girls are out of danger, out of poverty and on track to create the future they want.

2. Earlier this month, the IMF approved a loan to Mozambique in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, but did not agree to relieve the debt. More detail can be found at the Jubilee Debt Campaign site, here.

3. Recent ActionAid research, published in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, has found serious flaws with market-based approaches – such as loans – to alleviating climate disasters.     

4. ActionAid’s work in emergencies particularly focuses on the needs of women and girls. More information about our work in this area can be found here