The quiet strength and dignity of the women I encountered throughout last week made a particular impact on me. I spent several hours with Maria, who impressively navigated a network of heavily damaged and closed roads around Beira, to get me to our partner locations around the city.
Over the course of the day, she told me her own cyclone story. For nine long and terrifying hours, Maria sheltered in darkness with her five-year old daughter under their dining table, with only cushions for protection. Emerging the following morning, they found their house heavily damaged, with windows and roof gone.
While Maria would like to complete temporary repairs to her roof, the current price of materials is proving to be prohibitively expensive, especially given the limited employment opportunities in the local area. Maria told me she is ‘both mum and dad’ to her daughter, and despite the circumstances, is clearly doing an incredible job performing both roles.
An estimated 74,650 women impacted by the cyclone are pregnant, and more than 43,000 women in flood-affected areas are estimated to give birth in the next six months. Around 17% of these women may be at risk of life-threatening complications of pregnancy, and will need access to functioning health facilities and care.
As a new mother myself, having welcomed my son into the world just last year, I felt a strong affinity with the women I met at the maternity hospital in Beira. Yet while I was fortunate enough to access exceptional healthcare services in the US, many of these women are facing childbirth in the most difficult of circumstances.
Thanks to our supporters, Airlink has transported a number of nonprofit partners, who are helping to improve the medical infrastructure and services available during what should be the most joyous occasion.
An estimated 305,728 school-age children have been affected by the crisis in Mozambique, and approximately 10,937 children under five years old will face severe acute malnutrition over the next nine months. As parents, all any of us really want is to keep our children safe and healthy, with food in their tummies, and yet due to circumstances beyond their control, many mothers and fathers here face an uphill struggle in the weeks and months ahead.
With support from Airlink, Save the Children is getting critical supplies to the families and children who need them most. And in the accommodation sites I visited while in Beira, it was heartwarming to see children, who had recently endured exceptionally frightening experiences during the cyclone and the upheaval that has followed, now playing games, singing songs and being given the chance to just be children. Thank you for helping to make this possible.