“Through it all, all I can feel and think about is people.” — Mozambique Update
Simón Mostafa, IsraAID Emergency Response team WASH Specialist, explains why we are in Mozambique, and why people are at the heart of everything we do. As I stare at the blank page I feel this is the only time my mind has been blank in the last few days (days that feel like weeks, actually). But my inability to write doesn’t come from a lack of thoughts but instead feels like a traffic jam of ideas. And through it all, all I can feel and think about is people. Sure, I feel the presence of the natural disaster, cyclone, flooding, need, displacement, tragedy, aid, coordination, logistics, etc. But, ultimately, it all starts and ends with people.
People here in Mozambique have suffered the impact of a major storm and it is difficult to fully comprehend and feel the extent of their tragedy. Yet, underneath (or rather above) all this pain and uncertainty is the dignity and humanity of every person you encounter. As you go around, you come face to face with the heart and the soul of everyone you encounter: those living in temporary accommodation centers; those of us coming from all over the world to try to make the situation a little better; the local people and organizations supporting their neighboring communities; and many more.
As I prepared to join this emergency mission to support IsraAID’s Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH) efforts, I was expecting to find a country and its people ravaged by Cyclone Idai. And yes, the roads, houses, and infrastructure are destroyed — but not their spirit. I have encountered survivors rather than victims. And this is where we come in: not to help people, but to work with the great strength and life force we find in every place. We are not here because we are needed, but because we can be useful.
The WASH conditions are very concerning, particularly in the accommodation camps that are further away from the Beira city area, some of them still not reachable by land. Water can be scarce in some places, and clean water even more so. Living conditions can be very unsanitary, without proper or sufficient latrines and essentially no access to the materials and facilities necessary for proper hygiene. All of this sets the stage for the propagation of disease, including cholera, which has already begun its spread.
We are here to help create the basic conditions for survival in these difficult times, including a sanitary environment to the best possible extent, with the goal of allowing people to rebuild their own lives in a dignified way. There are many of us here, and we are trying our best.
We need your help to bring relief to the people of Mozambique. Please donate to IsraAID’s emergency fund to support our response.
More updates from Mozambique coming soon. Thank you for your support!
-Simón Mostafa, IsraAID Emergency Response team WASH Specialist