Since tropical cyclone Idai hit the coastal city of Beira in Mozambique on 14 March, the country has faced an unprecedented emergency. France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs asked the Veolia Foundation to send a humanitarian emergency mission into the field alongside its partners Médecins Sans Frontières, the French Red Cross and Solidarités International.
Cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Beira, the second largest city in Mozambique with 500,000 inhabitants, was badly affected: for several hours the Pungwe River water level was as high as 11 meters. According to the UN’s 26 March press release at least 700 people died and hundreds are still missing; three million people were affected, two-thirds of them in Mozambique; and at least one million children need emergency assistance:
Emergency response from the Foundation
On 27 March, a plane chartered by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs’ crisis and support centre (CDCS) left France as part of a “France humanitarian action” mission: in its hold were 65 metric tons of freight, including emergency equipment and the Veolia Foundation’s Aquaforce mobile water purification stations.
A Veoliaforce volunteer trained in emergency response by the French Red Cross (Emergency response unit - ERT) and seven Veolia water management experts deployed four Aquaforce 2000 mobile water purification stations and an Aquaforce 15 000 in Beira to supply the health centres run by Médecins Sans Frontières. They are also available for Solidarités International teams. Veolia's experts will train local teams to ensure continued access to drinking water. The challenge is to react quickly and avoid epidemics caused by waterborne diseases.