By Dominique Bovens, Save the Children in Mozambique
Members of the Sangene community in the flood-affected Chokwe district of Mozambique wait patiently in the shade of a large tree as the Save the Children team registers the most vulnerable families.
Families living in trees
Some families are living in trees, others are sleeping in houses that have collapsed as a consequence of the floods.
The construction tools and shelter items they are about to receive can’t come a minute too soon. As the sun sets, the first 100 families receive the construction tool kits and return to their homes.
Although we cannot give back everything that has been lost during the floods, we are able to provide the tools these flood-affected families need to start rebuilding their lives.
The floods hit Gaza Province in Mozambique on 22 January, leaving 175,693 people affected and 172,589 temporarily displaced.
Within the first few days, 23 temporary accommodation centres had been established to house the thousands of people who fled their homes.
Save the Children was one of the first organisations on the ground, providing assistance children and families within the first 72 hours of the floods.
Driving through the flood affected communities, destruction from the floods is still evident. Houses have been completely washed away or severely damaged by the water that swept through these communities.
Reaching isolated communities
The affected population is not always easy to reach.
On 23 March a distribution team from Save the Children travelled on almost impassable roads for three and a half hours over rocks, through rivers and deep sandy areas in order to reach the village of Dumela in Chicualacuala, one of the most northern districts of the Gaza Province.
Some of the communities in Chicualacuala had been totally isolated during the floods, and no humanitarian aid had reached them yet.
When our team finally arrived in Dumela, the families that had been identified as needing assistance by their community leaders and the local government administrator were patiently waiting in the shade.
After receiving tarpaulins, rope and mosquito nets, community members helped each other to pack items into bundles, grateful that assistance had to come to their community.
In one day, approximately 100 families were provided with shelter items.
During the first few weeks after the floods first hit the area, the Save the Children shelter team worked in the flood-affected communities, identifying families that needed immediate assistance and distributing shelter kits.
These distributions are still going on, as we continue to reach more affected communities for the first time.
Alongside the distribution of shelter kits, the emergency response is gradually moving into a recovery phase, where efforts are being made to help families rebuild their lives.
The shelter team have started distributing construction kits that contain a saw, hammer, shovel, machete and tie-wire, essential for families to reconstruct their homes, or start from scratch.
Since the floods hit Gaza province, Save the Children has reached more than 7,000 families, equalling approximately 37,000 people including nearly 19,000 children, with shelter and construction tool kits.