As UN chief visits Beira, aid agencies call for urgent action to curtail looming food crisis in Mozambique

Beira/London (July 12, 2019) – Four months after two deadly cyclones swept through northern Mozambique, the food security situation is increasingly worsening. At least 433,000 families have had their farming land destroyed, robbing them of their main source of food and an income.

As the UN Secretary General visits cyclone affected areas today, a group of aid agencies known as COSACA is calling for further emergency food assistance along with longer term livelihoods assistance to avert yet another crisis. COSACA consists of the international aid organisations CARE International, Oxfam, and Save the Children.

David Smith, CARE International’s Cyclone Response Lead, said:

Women and girls of Mozambique must not be left behind at this crucial juncture, as the response moves into recovery phase. In focus groups with women who were impacted by both cyclones, we have found multiple protection concerns, such as their safety in new resettlement sites, fear of exploitation, increased social tensions, and violence that could stem from the change of gender roles due to the loss or injury of male family members.

Humanitarian donors should seize the opportunity to make recovery more inclusive by investing in gender equality, and support efforts against sexual and gender-based violence.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, who is visiting the city of Beira today, has an opportunity now to ensure that donors make good on their pledges as well as give new money, so that women and girls can re-establish their lives and move out of poverty and children can attend schools.

According to the authorities, the twin disasters of Cyclone Idai and Kenneth killed over 650 people and left more than 2.2 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Yet, aid agencies only have 40 per cent funding of what they need to provide the much-needed support to those that need it the most.

Sara Almer, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Response Lead in Mozambique, said:

The double tragedy and devastation from the cyclones have left millions of people destitute. People have lost their homes and property and are now staring a food crisis in the face. Donors must ensure that sustained international food assistance is provided for people to rebuild their lives.

The cyclones and flooding are also proof that climate change hurts the poorest the most. Governments – particularly major emitters – have a dual responsibility: to cut emissions fast and help vulnerable people now, including those whose lives have been torn apart by these disasters. The visit of the Secretary General should be a reminder for wealthy countries to close the climate finance gap and meet the $100bn annual target set out in the Paris Agreement.

Gillian Moyes, Save the Children’s Response Team Leader, said:

In reality, the impact of these climate-fuelled shocks is children missing out on school, missing meals and being put at risk of diseases such as cholera. As the Government of Mozambique responds to this crisis, the international community must stand by its pledges and commitments to those most affected by the impacts of disasters super-charged by climate change.


Spokespeople available for interviews. For media queries, please contact:

Henry Makiwa, Senior Humanitarian Communications Coordinator, CARE International –

Notes to Editors

The COSACA (Oxfam, Save the Children and CARE International) paper, ‘From Cyclone to food crisis: Ensuring the needs of women and girls are prioritised in the Cyclone Idai and Kenneth responses’ is available here.

In response to Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, Oxfam in Mozambique, Save the Children International and CARE International have to date reached over 500,000 people across the following sectors: child protection, education, PSEA, food security and livelihoods, health, nutrition, shelter and WASH. Their response teams are responding in Sofala, Manica, Tete, Zambezia, Cabo Delgado provinces.

About CARE

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world.

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