Beira/Nairobi/Geneva, 21 March 2019 – Two major emergency response units are being deployed to Beira in Mozambique as the world’s largest humanitarian network continues to scale up its response to Cyclone Idai.

The first will provide basic sanitation facilities for up to 20,000 people. The second will produce up to 225,000 litres of clean water per day – enough for 15,000 people. The humanitarian experts accompanying the units will arrive in the coming days, with the equipment to arrive in Beira early next week.

Jamie LeSueur, the Head of Operations in Mozambique for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said:

We know that health risks can rise dramatically in the aftermath of any emergency, let alone one of this magnitude. We are concerned about the potential spread of waterborne disease. These emergency response units will be crucial for preventing that spread, and for making sure that people have the basic support they need.”

A third emergency response unit, designed to manage the complex logistics involved in an operation of this scale, is also being deployed.

In addition to water and sanitation, IFRC and Mozambique Red Cross are also aiming to address the massive shelter needs caused by the tropical cyclone and the floods. According to the government, at least 400,000 people have been displaced. Red Cross volunteers have already distributed emergency shelter kits – made up tarpaulins and basic tools – to about 1,500 families. These kits were part of a consignment that IFRC managed to deploy to Beira ahead of the flooding.

Tomorrow (22 March), an additional consignment of emergency shelter kits for 3,000 families will arrive at the Beira port. These crucial supplies were deployed in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai from a French Red Cross warehouse on Réunion island.

Many people have been waiting for days for rescue and for support. It’s encouraging that the humanitarian response is really starting to come to scale. But more help is needed, and we are continuing to do all we can to bring in more resources and to reach more people,” said LeSueur.

IFRC and Mozambique Red Cross are appealing for 10 million Swiss francs to help 75,000 people. Red Cross will focus on reaching those worst affected by the crisis. In addition to water and sanitation and shelter, IFRC is also focusing on responding to health needs and to ensuring that cyclone survivors are safe from harm during the coming recovery.

IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy, is in Beira today and tomorrow and will be visiting Red Cross response efforts and meeting with affected communities.

Related content

The mass sanitation Emergency Response Unit (ERU) is being deployed by the British Red Cross with support from the Swedish Red Cross.

The water ERU is being deployed by the Spanish Red Cross with support from the French Red Cross.

The logistics ERU is being deployed by the Swiss Red Cross.

Learn more about IFRC Emergency Response Units.

Media contacts

In Mozambique: Caroline Haga, +358 50 598 0500,

In Nairobi: Euloge Ishimwe, +254 731 688 613,

In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, 41 79 251 80 39,