Cyclone Idai is one of the worst disasters Mozambique has ever faced. When it swept through central Mozambique in early March, it left extensive flooding that destroyed homes and displaced more than 140,000 people.

Communities and response The long road to recovery workers barely had time to draw breath before facing another monster storm. Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in the north of the country, causing even more flooding, upending thousands more lives and dramatically increasing response needs.

Red Cross staff and volunteers from around the world moved quickly to support the Mozambique Red Cross’ response. A Red Cross field hospital run by delegates was quickly established after Cyclone Idai to provide vital medical services after much of the health infrastructure was damaged or destroyed.

In Buzi, Red Cross volunteers Ismail and Manuel were stranded on rooftops for three days, forced to watch as floodwaters drowned their hometown. They’re now more motivated to help than ever.

Devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in Buzi, Mozambique.

“These are our people,” Manuel says. “They need the help. I am here to give back.”

Ismail, a Red Cross volunteer for 12 years, has been organising a group of 30 local volunteers to carry out an assessment of homes damaged by Cyclone Idai. He also spends hours separating grains of rice from caked mud in hopes they can be made edible again.

Thanks in part to the work of Red Cross staff and volunteers like Ismail and Manuel, some of the immediate dangers are passing but there is still a huge amount of work to do.

Anticipating the health risks arising from this humanitarian crisis, Red Cross has been prioritising clean water and sanitation services with ongoing hygiene promotion in high-risk communities.

Cholera and malaria continue to be major health concerns, especially in Cabo Delago, which was significantly affected by Cyclone Kenneth.

In central Mozambique more than 3,200 people have been treated in the Red Cross field hospital, which incorporates a 10-bed cholera treatment unit and a 21-bed malaria treatment centre. Community health points around Beira have also supported more than 5,000 people.

In the Cabo Delago area, Red Cross volunteers have been conducting hygiene promotion activities in high-risk areas, including accommodation centres of displaced people, to prevent the spread of disease. Critical hygiene items including jerry cans, water treatment tabs, buckets and soap, are being distributed by Red Cross with the aim to reach at least 3,000 people in the area.

“This work has been effective, and we are now starting to see the initial green shoots of recovery in central Mozambique,” says Titus Queiroz dos Santos, Mozambique Red Cross Director of Programmes.

"The survivors of this disaster are still suffering, but many are already determined to go home and rebuild their lives and livelihoods. The Red Cross will be there to support them at every step of the journey."