Oxfam delivers LifeSaver water treatment cubes to community suffering without aid for weeks after devastating storm.
More than a month after Cyclone Idai hit the central coast of Mozambique and flooded the city of Beira and interior areas of Zimbabwe and Malawi, people in isolated areas still need assistance and have been suffering without clean water, food, latrines, and decent shelter.
Staff from Oxfam and a local organization called CECOHAS recently traveled 24 hours by car, boat, and motorbike into Zambezia province in Mozambique, where they found 2,000 people who had been surviving on dates, coconuts, and what small fish they could catch. Staff reports indicate there may be as many as 4,000 more people in that area, near Gentivo, who also need assistance.
Oxfam and CECOHAS staff found that almost all the water sources in Gentivo were contaminated, and the majority of latrines had been destroyed. As trucking water to the area is not an option due to the condition of the roads and terrain, they decided to deliver LifeSaver cubes. These small plastic cubes have a hand pump and filter system that eliminates bacteria, parasites, and sediment to provide clean water. Clean water is essential in areas recovering from a disaster because of the risk of water-borne diseases, such as cholera.
Victoria, 48, says receiving a LifeSaver cube came at a crucial moment: She has been living in a make-shift shelter with 16 people, one of whom had given birth four days earlier.
“We did not use clean water to wash her and the baby. We used the dirty water from the well. We could not even find dry wood to light a fire and boil the water,” she said. “This is the reason I’m very thankful for these containers you have given us—they will save our lives. Now, I will not worry about my children getting sick from drinking contaminated water, and I am confident that the new mother and her baby in our shelter will not die because at least we will give them clean water.”
Oxfam and other members of the Mozambique humanitarian assistance consortium COSACA plan to continue providing assistance to people in hard-to-reach areas that have been cut off by the storm and subsequent flooding. At the same time, they are also assessing the needs of communities hit by Cyclone Kenneth in northern Mozambique one week ago.