from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – A SERIES of storms has not only left a trail of destruction but triggered mental health crisis and sparked fears of transactional sex, child labour and human trafficking in Mozambique.
The concerns are most prevalent in the northern Nampula province, the area most affected by Gombe, the last cyclone to batter Mozambique.
Gombe made its first landfall in the province on March 11, bringing torrential rains (200mm over 24 hours) and violent winds (150-185km/h).
Gombe toppled trees and ripped off roofs of buildings, destroyed houses, schools, and health centre before washing away roads and crops.
Overnight, hundreds of thousands of people were affected, and thousands were left homeless.
The cyclone made landfall near the areas where Tropical Storm Ana and Tropical Depression Dumako had already struck six weeks prior, pre-existing vulnerabilities.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) expressed widespread protection concerns in the aftermath of the cyclone as families have been separated.
“The risk of gender-based violence (GBV) is rife, and many of the displaced or evacuated people have lost civil documentation,” the agency stated.
The agency stated people impacted by the cyclone required mental and psychosocial support to cope with the uncertainty about their situation following the loss of property and livelihoods in the medium to long term.
Transactional sex and child labour have emerged as harmful coping mechanisms that are at risk.
In addition to being densely populated, Nampula hosts more than 100 000 refugees from the conflict in Cabo Delgado, also in the north.
– CAJ News