United Nations, May 31: Visiting storm-ravaged Mozambique, UN Children’s Fund Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom, listened to devastating stories of children who lost everything in Cyclone Idai, while observing on Thursday that UNICEF-built safe spaces have given them “a sense of normality”.
During the week, the actor travelled to the coastal city of Beira, one of the areas worst-affected by Cyclone Idai, which killed over 600 people and destroyed nearly 240,000 homes when it made landfall in March.
Sitting on the sandy floor of a tent at the Samora Machel site for internally displaced people, named after the country’s founding president, Bloom listened to children recount devastating stories of how they lost everything in the cyclone.
Thirteen-year-old Alzina Lopes described the moment Cyclone Idai made landfall, leaving her stranded in waist-deep floodwaters. Now she wants to go back to school, and dreams of becoming a traffic officer.
“It’s remarkable to see children, who have been through so much, gain a sense of normality in the safe spaces set up by UNICEF, where they are free to sing, dance, play and just be children,” said the Goodwill Ambassador.
Bloom said that it was “heartbreaking” that without IDs “they are unregistered, almost invisible and vulnerable to exploitation”.
In the aftermath of tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth, 1.1 million children remain in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. UNICEF is supporting families affected by the cyclones to either return home or relocate to safer places. It is also providing healthcare, nutrition, education, sanitation and protection services.
In the days following the storm, UNICEF and its partners restored water supplies to thousands of people in Beira and procured and administered one million doses of the cholera vaccine, curbing a large outbreak. (UNI)