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Mozambique - Matemo island, Ibo district – 30/04/2019


Matemo island, Ibo district


Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique on 25 April 2019 as Category 4 cyclone, with the eye of the storm hitting Ibo, Quissanga and Macomia districts. The Ibo district is composed of three islands (Matemo, Ibo and Quirimba). This assessment covers the island of Matemo.
Matemo host nearly 4,000 people (including an estimated 900 IDPs displaced prior to the cyclone) living in 856 houses spread across 4 villages on the North-East and Eastern side of the island. There were reportedly one dead (child) and 17 mildly injured (one man, one woman, 15 children) due to heavy winds, water and flying debris as part of the cyclone.
On 30 April, thanks to rotation provided by MAF, a team composed of OCHA, INGC, MSF, Team Rubicon and COSACA/Save the Children undertook a Multi-Sector Rapid Needs Assessment to all 4 villages of Matemo using the INGC MRA endorsed tool. In line with Government’s request, the assessment was coupled with the distribution of medical supplies and water purification tabs provided by UNICEF. About 10 key informants, including community leaders, traders, school director, housewives, policemen, and other villagers were interviewed. Key findings are reported below.

Key findings: 

1. Shelter/NFI
About 85% of the 856 houses are estimated to be completely destroyed, including most of the few houses build with conventional material, because of strong wind and copious water carried by the cyclone. The houses are located in the following areas of Matemo: Palussansa (300), Namba (350), Muanacombo (150), Rueculo (20) and Milamba (36). People started to re-build their houses with improvised material (branches, palm leaves).
Following the cyclone, more than 60% the population (about 2,500) sleeps outdoor at night, while some people spend the night in public buildings (1 health center, 2 madrasas, 10 mosques). Before the cyclone, a few families had access to electricity for more than 6 hours per day through solar panels; now none does.
Recommendations: Provide tarpaulins (to temporarily replace roofs) and tents for immediate needs; longer term assistance should include cement and metal sheets.
2. Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH)
The main sources of water are unprotected wells and rainwater collected in tanks. Following the cyclone, the risk of contamination is extremely high. Some water bottles are available in few small stores on the island. Nearly no one treats (or has been sensitized to treat) water to make it safer to drink, even before the cyclone.
The availability of drinking water has remained the same; however, its quality has critically worsened. The nurse from the health center interviewed mentioned water purification as a top priority to avoid the spread of waterborne diseases.
Open air defecation (in the bush or in the sea) was a common practice before and after the cyclone, in complete lack of privacy. Very few latrines exist, but people do not know how to use them, plus they are too shallow and fill up quickly.
Recommendations: Community engagement, including radio spots (with Macomia community radio) and community meetings to sensitize on water purification, disease prevention, open defecation; Protect wells; Distribute Certeza (part of stock delivered during the assessment); Install more rain water tanks; Rehabilitate the health post water pump.
3. Food Security and Agriculture
All crops (beans, maize, cassava) and cash crops (coconut, imported from Quelimane) were lost after the cyclone. All fishing boats and fishing equipment were lost or partially damaged, while there is fewer fish in the sea, as according to the fishermen (key informants) the water temperature is higher than usual. No food stock is left on the island, thus people feed on coconut and the few fish they manage to fish. In terms of livestock, all 14 cows and 200 goats/sheep survived the cyclone, while most poultry were lost.
Recommendations: Provide food assistance and planting seeds: maize seeds, cassava leaves and other varieties.
4. Markets
There is no big market in Matemo, only a few small stores. Following the cyclone, they are short of fresh food, dry food (especially rice and maize), packaged food, as well as essential non-food items (NFI). Only flour and sugar are available. In spite of food shortage, no price change was recorded.
5. Health
People seemed generally healthy. In relation to the cyclone, one dead (child) and 17 mildly injured (one man, one woman, 15 children) were reported due to heavy winds, water and flying debris. Following the cyclone, an increase in cases of diarrhoea was recorded (7 cases in four days, including 3 bloody and 3 severe), as well as 10 cases of malaria, 10 of pharyngitis and 4 of respiratory diseases. No cholera cases.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) include gonorrhea and syphilis, while 7 patients are on HIV/AIDS treatment. Women have access to Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (SRH), with 3 births registered on average per week.
The only health center in Matemo was barely damaged by the cyclone and the maternity center was left intact. The damage included: partial destruction of midwife’s house; destruction of solar panels and consequent loss of vaccines in the freezer; only one water tank left out of three. Health center staff include one nurse (key informant), one cleaner and one midwife, who had left a few days before the cyclone and has not been able to return.
Recommendation: Provide IV fluids and Certeza (part of stock delivered during the assessment)
6. Education
The majority of children used to attend primary school before the cyclone, while a few did not in order to help their families or because they lived far from the school. Some 700 children (420 boys and 280 girls) were registered, with 21 teachers (18 men and 3 women). Class size averaged between 35-45 children. Classes for adults took place in the evening. However, after the cyclone, no child could go back to class as all 3 schools were severely damaged (no roof) and all school material was lost or damaged.
Recommendations: Rehabilitate school infrastructures; Provide education kits; Provide solar panels for evening classes for adults.
7. Protection
No major security or safety concern was reported. Because of the cyclone, 15 children were mildly injured and one died, while some 50 children work to help their families rebuild their houses. No child registry exists. 50% of IDs were damaged or lost after the cyclone.
Recommendation: Create child registry.
8. Communication
Before the cyclone, telephone connection was weakly covered by Movitel and Tmcel (no antenna in Matemo); radio signal was sporadic from Macomia; no internet access. After the cyclone, no telecom whatsoever is available. The main sources of information for the community are friends/neighbors/family, radio and the government. No information has been shared with the population on the humanitarian assistance they could receive.
Recommendation: Distribute radios; Broadcast educational messages (disease prevention, humanitarian aid, PSEA etc.) on the radio in local languages; community engagement through meetings and religious leaders.
9. Logistics
The island is only reachable via air or sea. The airstrip is quite far from the community (1 hour walk to the closest village and 3.5 hours walk to the health center). On the island, movement is possible only on foot or by motorbike due to several coconut trees fallen on the narrow pathways.
Recommendations: Assistance should be sent via helicopter (football pitch within a village and wide northern beach are possible landing spots) or by boat (northern beach seems most accessible).

Assessment Report: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Publicly Available
Mattia Villa
+236 70 55 01 17 (Mobile)
Assessment Date(s): 
30 Apr 2019
Report completed
Population Type(s): 
All affected population
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Other location: 
Ibo district
Tropical Cyclone Kenneth - Apr 2019