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In the news: Millions still in need, a year after Cyclone Idai

‘The people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi are trying to piece their lives back together in the face of huge challenges.’

A woman walks past a destroyed part of a hospital in Bhuzi, Mozambique on 5 March 2020. A year after Cyclone Idai, millions in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi are still struggling to rebuild their lives. (Karel Prinsloo/UNICEF)

Millions of people are still struggling to rebuild their lives a year after Cyclone Idai tore through Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi in one of southern Africa’s worst ever weather-related disasters, aid groups said this week.

In a new report ahead of Saturday’s anniversary, Oxfam said more than 100,000 remain in makeshift shelters and destroyed or damaged homes across the region; some roads, water supplies and schools are still in tatters; and nearly 10 million people are “in desperate need of food”.

“The people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi are trying to piece their lives back together in the face of huge challenges,” said Nellie Nyang’wa, Oxfam’s regional director for southern Africa. “Politicians in the region, and across the globe, need to match their commitment.”

Drought conditions in the region have impacted people’s recovery – as have the torrential rain and flash floods that have struck Mozambique in recent months, destroying cropland.

A move to resettle those living in flood-prone areas in Mozambique has meanwhile left tens of thousands of people languishing in ill-suited sites that lack basic humanitarian necessities and offer few employment opportunities.

And with temperatures rising in southern Africa at around twice the global rate, another big disaster is just around the corner, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Next month will also mark the anniversary of Cyclone Kenneth, which destroyed or damaged some 35,000 houses in Mozambique’s northernmost Cabo Delgado province. Spreading militant violence has complicated recovery efforts there.

For more on post-cyclone reconstruction and resettlement, read our series of recent reports from the ground.

– Philip Kleinfeld

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