Cyclone Kenneth – Comoros Islands, Mozambique, Tanzania
14 May 2019
Two Australian Response Team members, Richard Brammall (Gold Coast) and Steve Roddis (Melbourne) will be joining the ShelterBox team heading to the Comoro Islands (or ‘Comoros’), after Cyclone Kenneth caused widespread damage at the end of April. Strong winds, torrential rains and waves of 6-12 metres battered the islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli, washing away and destroying houses, schools, crops, power poles and health centres.
The ShelterBox team will be meeting families and local partners, to assess the damage and to understand whether our aid would be suitable to help them recover.
We will know more once our teams have visited affected communities, but aid items may include ShelterKits, water filters and mosquito nets.
The country has been overwhelmed by its first serious cyclone in over 30 years. Entire villages in the storm’s path were affected. Almost 4,000 homes have been destroyed and a further 7,000 badly damaged, according to the government. And with 80% of the islands’ farms destroyed, plus schools and hospitals damaged, it will take months for communities to recover.
Water infrastructure is damaged and will take time to repair (lack of power has stopped pumps working, and we’ve heard that water tanks have lost their lids and are filled with debris or seawater), raising concerns of an outbreak of water-borne diseases.
Why is ShelterBox responding to Comoros?
Cyclone Kenneth tore through Comoros before making landfall on Mozambique’s coast, where it caused further damage and flooding to a country already reeling from Cyclone Idai.
Many international agencies are concentrating their efforts and resources in Mozambique. The UN, IFRC and UNICEF have announced funding or resources for Comoros, but as far as we know there have been very limited resources for emergency shelter.
The relatively shallow waters around the islands can also make it more challenging and time-consuming to get aid to Comoros, meaning families who need support to rebuild have been left with nothing.
ShelterBox is committed to going further, helping vulnerable families often overlooked by others. At least 345,000 people in Comoros have been affected by the disaster in some way, and the comparatively small amount of help available to them is one of the main reasons we’re sending a team.
Where is Comoros?
Comoros is a nation made up of three volcanic islands off the south-east coast of Africa, east of Mozambique and northwest of Madagascar.
Although more prepared for the disruption of volcanic activity, people in Comoros haven’t experienced a cyclone this severe since the 1980s.
Kieryn Deutrom
Volunteer Program Manager
ShelterBox Australia