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Long-term effects of cyclone IDAI are anticipated to lead to atypically high food assistance needs

  • Key Message Update
  • Mozambique
  • March 2019
Long-term effects of cyclone IDAI are anticipated to lead to atypically high food assistance needs

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall on March 14th over central Mozambique with winds sustaining 170 kilometers per hour (Km/hr) and over 300 mm of rainfall in 24 hours. Heavy rainfall persisted for six consecutive days resulting in widespread flooding in lowland areas of Sofala, Manica, Zambézia, and Tete provinces, which were also affected in late January by Tropical Storm Desmond. As of March 27th, over 800,000 people have been affected, with close to 500 deaths, according to the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC). Infrastructure along with nearly 500,000 hectares of crops and losses of livestock were heavily impacted. These preliminary estimates are likely to increase as assessments are carried out and information becomes available.

    • The INGC with support from the national and international humanitarian community relocated nearly 170,000 displaced people to about 160 accommodation centers, where humanitarian assistance is currently being distributed. Food access to displaced households, not in accommodation centers is of concern as many do not receive assistance, but plans for humanitarian food assistance delivery will continue as areas become accessible. The proliferation in the number of cases of malaria, cholera, and diarrheal disease is particularly concerning despite expected interventions in the near term with the massive evacuation to accommodation centers and many flood affected areas have poor sanitation and limited or no access to safe and clean water.

    • The entire southern region is facing the effects of the ongoing El Niño with below-average cumulative rainfall and abnormally high temperatures for the 2018/19 season. Production in the central region (prior to the cyclone and floods) was estimated to be above-average. However, because of flooding and wind in the central areas and dry conditions in southern areas, the overall crop production in these two areas will likely be significantly below average to failure in the worst affected areas. In the central region due to the combination of residual moisture and mild temperatures provide favorable conditions for post-flood planting, making seed availability and distribution crucial.  

    • In areas where market functioning has resumed, the limited supply due to temporary cuts in transportation routes is driving food prices up. Staple food prices more than doubled, particularly for rice, maize meal, and maize grain in the central region. Specifically, in Beira city, rice, maize meal, and maize grain prices increased by about 100 percent immediately following the cyclone. Prices are now gradually returning to normal, as the major road linking Beira to the rest of the country has reopened.

    • In areas not affected by Cyclone Idai the drivers of food security remain the same as presented in the February Outlook. In southern areas of the country, temporary relief will likely occur between April and July, as result of the harvest despite it being significantly below average. Although, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are anticipated in poor households with limited or no income, in the remote interior highlands of the south through September. Current and projected food security outcomes are expected to be worse than previously anticipated in areas affected by Cyclone Idai and the analysis will be updated in FEWS NET’s April Food Security Outlook Update.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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