Canadian Red Cross sends emergency field hospital to disaster-stricken Mozambique

Topics: Africa, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide, Our Impact on the Ground
March 25, 2019

A young mother and her child stand in the street

Photo: Benjamin Suomela, Finnish Red Cross

With local Red Cross volunteers already distributing shelter supplies and basic relief items to those most in need, a Canadian Red Cross field hospital is on its way to Mozambique to provide critical emergency medical care to those affected by Cyclone Idai.

The hospital can provide medical services, emergency surgery, as well as inpatient and outpatient care for at least 30,000 people.

Health risks rise dramatically in the aftermath of a disaster like this, with the very real threat of waterborne disease outbreaks such as  cholera and malaria. In addition to the Canadian field hospital, two International Federation of the Red Cross Emergency Response Units have also been sent to Mozambique.

One will provide basic sanitation facilities for 20,000 people, and one will produce clean water for 15,000 people per day. These units are made up of trained technical specialists and pre-packed sets of standardized equipment that can be sent on short notice to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable.

“These emergency response units will be crucial for preventing the spread of waterborne  diseases, and for making sure that people have the basic support they need,” said Jamie LeSueur, the Head of Operations in Mozambique for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

The Canadian Red Cross has already launched an emergency Cyclone Idai Appeal for Canadians wishing to send their support to families in need.

A young couple holding an infant

Photo: Corrie Butler / Canadian Red Cross

A Family Grateful to Find Safety

Canadian Red Cross medical teams are on the frontline of multiple emergencies every year — but the need for humanitarian assistance continues to grow.

Earlier this week at the sea port in Beira, Mozambique, at the centre of Cyclone Idai, hundreds of families were rescued by boat and helicopter during search and rescue efforts. Access has been one of the biggest challenges of this emergency, with some areas still completely cut off from help.

Louis, 23, his wife Isabelle, 20, and their four-month old baby boy Cefas survived the cyclone when it hit Biera, but their home and belongings were damaged.

"The most valuable thing I lost were my books," said Louis, a student at the local University. Isabelle's family is from Buzi and they had not heard from their family since the cyclone hit. They've come to the port where volunteers have been registering people being rescued from the same area and hope to find their family soon.

"We are very worried — Isabelle is very worried," he said. "But we are grateful that we are safe. We are alive and that's what is important."

Donate to the Cyclone Idai Appeal

Hundreds of thousands of people in Mozambique are in urgent need of medical care as basic health services have been severely disrupted. Many local health facilities have suffered extensive damage and are disconnected from power, relying on Red Cross generators to continue functioning. Flooding has submerged an area more than 3,000 square kilometers – almost five times the size of Toronto.  

Canadians wishing to support the people affected by this devastating disaster can make a financial donation to the Cyclone Idai AppealMoney raised will enable the Red Cross to provide relief, recovery, and resiliency activities in response to this disaster.

Learn more about ERUs.