Tropical Cyclone Idai has dissipated after making landfall over Mozambique as the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. At least 146 people were killed from flooding caused by the storm, including 66 in Mozambique, 56 in Malawi, and 24 in Zimbabwe. Ongoing flood-related impacts are being covered in separate Severe Flooding incidents for Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. More than 400 people have been confirmed to have died so far, with authorities expecting the toll to be much higher; over 1,500 people have been injured.
Children were traumatised, some of them lost both parents, some one parent and some lost everything. Survivors have had to dig up some of their deceased family members and with a large portion of victims still missing. Psychological care is urgently needed to comfort the afflicted and direct victims to the disaster. UN in a statement note that volunteers who have been on the ground since the 18th of March after the cyclone hit were now fatigued. There is a need to relieve them since there are now likely to experience post trauma after working with the survivors.
It is during times like these that it is critical for children facing trauma and widespread devastation to receive urgent and immediate professional psychosocial care to safeguard their rights. Apart from this physical aid, potentially traumatic experiences have placed the lives and physical integrity of individuals and their loved ones in jeopardy. Prospective studies show that a significant number of disaster survivors develop intense psychological reactions immediately after these experiences. The once peaceful communities before the cyclone are now going to experience the negative effects of these psychological reactions.
Noah and the flood: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease”. (Gen 8:22)