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UN action with support from the government and Brazilian firefighters rescues victims of Cyclone Kenneth

Pemba - On Sunday (April 28), coordinated action between United Nations agencies, the Mozambican government, and Brazilian firefighters have saved the lives of hundreds of people in Pemba, in the north of the country. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was in the field monitoring the search and contributing to the process of finding and rescuing people in distress.

"Right now we are evaluating our remaining stock of maternity kits (with equipment to serve pregnant women and women in labor) in Beira and then we will send them through the implementing partners to the affected health centers in Cabo Delgado. Today we have activated the Pemba Protection Cluster with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). We are loading a truck in Beira with tents for clinics that support health and women's protection services. We are also organizing the distribution of dignity kits (with items for the hygiene and safety of women and girls) and Sexual and Reproductive Health kits," said Ingo Piegeler, UNFPA's humanitarian coordinator.

Since the beginning of the response to Cyclone Idai (which made landfall in Mozambique on March 14, leaving more than 600 dead in the country), UNFPA has carried out several activities such as distribution of more than 4,000 dignity kits, setting up clinics dedicated to prevention and combating gender-based violence in shelters including the distribution of maternity kits, training of activists and midwives who will work in places of greatest vulnerability after Cyclone Idai and Kenneth.

In Mozambique, for more than a month, a group of 24 Brazilian firefighters assisted UNFPA, other UN agencies and the country's government in the rescue, search and reconstruction of areas affected to assist the victims of Cyclone Idai.

"We took a lot of people out of vulnerable areas that were completely flooded, the water rose and destroyed many residential areas if people were there they probably would not have survived, the number of fatal victims could have exceeded 100," said Captain Kleber Castro, who commanded the search and rescue operation.

The United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs' (OCHA) spokesperson, Saviano Abreu witnessed yesterday's most dramatic moments. Cyclone Kenneth, which hit the north of the country, affected more than 168,000 people. Initial data from Nampula province indicates that an additional 42,000 people have been displaced by rain and floods. It is estimated that more than 7,000 pregnant women are at risk of unsafe childbirth in affected areas.

"Our main challenge is reaching the communities in these climatic conditions. I was in the Mahate neighborhood, where many people were in areas at risk of landslide, we ran there and activated a device to get them out of flood-prone areas. With heavy rain, the operation is very complicated and we have to fight against time to save lives, "said Saviano.