Cyclone Idai: When Scouts are among the ‘first responders’
When Cyclone Idai struck on March 15, 2019, it left parts of Southern Africa to bear catastrophic consequences. Considered one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in the history of Africa, Cyclone Idai affected at least 500,000 people, leaving half of them homeless in mass devastation across Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi.
Mozambique suffered the highest death toll where Cyclone Idai was ranked equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane. Heavy winds, rain and extreme flooding caused nearly 600 people to lose their lives, over 140,000 to lose their homes, and thousands to go missing amid the destruction.
As part of Scouting’s commitment to serve the community, Scouts of Mozambique were among the first responders alongside humanitarian actors rushing to provide critical aid to the thousands of people affected by the disaster. Over 700 Scouts mobilized across the destroyed cities of Beira, Dondo, Mafambisse, Buzi, Chimanemane Park, Gondola, Mopeia, Nicoadala and Mocuba, demonstrating their readiness of being active and responsible citizens in their communities.
Working in cooperation with the National Institute of Management of Calamity and other humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross, Medicine Sans Frontiers, UNICEF and WFP, Scouts of Mozambique were actively cleaning rubble from schools and streets, searching for missing persons, supporting orphans, translating for humanitarian agencies, distributing food and water and assisting the Municipal Council in registration of affected persons.
After losing their homes, thousands of people found refuge in makeshift shelters set up by the government and humanitarian agencies across the country. Using their Scouting skills and experience, Scouts of Mozambique also supported UNICEF’s efforts in setting up camps and shelters for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sofala Province.
In the wake of one of the most detrimental natural disasters to hit Africa, Mozambique suffered outbreaks of cholera and malaria that are still on the rise weeks after the cyclone struck.
Following a training by Medicine Sans Frontiers, Scout groups in Mozambique joined a cholera vaccination campaign and have been distributing hygiene materials like soap to families. They went door to door raising awareness on sanitation and hygiene to prevent the water-borne illness from spreading.
The efforts of Scouts were replicated in Zimbabwe and Malawi, where Scouts collaborated with aid organizations to help hundreds of people with critical aid and basic necessities.
For over a century, Scouts have been known for their leadership and bravery, community service and their endless commitment to creating a better world. Stepping in among humanitarian experts during a massive natural disaster like Cyclone Idai is a remarkable initiative that captures the essence of Scouting.
Mozambique Scouts have developed a crowdfunding campaign to support their activities that include school renovation, and distribution of food and non-food items to the families affected by the devastation of Cyclone Idai. Visit the Scout Donation Platform to donate any amount you wish to this project.