Cyclone Idai Leaves 75 000 HIV Positive Women Vulnerable

A total number of 75 000 HIV positive women  from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawai were affected by the Cyclone Idai which left millions in need of humanitarian assistance.

By Michael Gwarisa

In a flooding scenario, most people loose valuables ranging from property, medicines, shelter clothing and food items. According to the March 2019 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)  Sub-Regional Situation Report for Malawi  Mozambique and Zimbabwe,  nearly 3 million people have been affected by flooding, among them more than 600,000 women of reproductive age, 70,000 pregnant women and 75,000 women who are HIV positive.

“Since January, the Southern Africa region has been severely affected by flooding, due to the rainy season starting in Malawi and Tropical Cyclone Idai making landfall on 14 March, bringing torrential rainfall and strong winds to several provinces of Mozambique and with devastating effects for Beira city, as well as large sections of Malawi and Zimbabwe.

“Since 2018, Mozambique has been affected by acute food insecurity due to below average and erratic rainfall. To date, almost 2 million people have been affected and 193,000 sheltered in transit camps following the devastation in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. UNFPA has successfully positioned more than US$600,000, including pre-existing CERF-approved funds for food insecurity in the region.

“More than 2,500 cases of acute diarrhoea and 5 cases of cholera have been confirmed. More than 7,500 dignity kits and 50 tents have been positioned and distributed in Beira, Tete, Manica and Zambezia in Mozambique,” said the report.

In Zimbabwe, 250,000 people have been affected by the cyclone, of which 16,000 have been displaced. There are confirmed reports of more than 100 fatalities with 180 people missing, 110 injured, 45 marooned and 19 critically ill.

Four hospitals, hundreds of houses and bridges, schools and roads were washed away by flash floods and mudslides, especially in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts of Manicaland province.

The Zimbabwean government response towards the Cyclone Idai continues to be coordinated by the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) through the National, Provincial and District Civil Protection Committees, which Sector Lead agencies and humanitarian partners are supporting.

“The four distribution centres established in Chipinge town, Wenedzi, Skyline and Silverstream continue to distribute urgent food supplies to the most hard-to-reach areas via helicopters. Medical teams as well as the army and private helicopter pilots are on standby for deployment once access to hard-to-reach areas is clear or when an airlifting plan has been developed by CPU coordination structures.”

Meanwhile, the distribution of UNFPA-supported Maama kits was undertakenjointly with International Rescue Committee, whichdistributed dignity kits. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)staff at the stabilization centre supported these efforts. Since contents of the IRC dignity kit are similar to the UNFPA family kit, a decision was taken not to distribute the UNFPA family kit, to avoid duplication.

“Pregnant mothers and/or mothers with six-week-old babies or younger and those mothers who lost everything in the cyclone were prioritized to receive Maama kits.

“As identification and verification of the affected people were difficult in the absence of a registration system, the team relied mainly on information presented at the distribution point. This resulted in only a few kits being distributed as there was a high risk of providing assistance to those not meeting the selection criteria,” said the report.

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