On 24 April, the Tropical Cyclone Kenneth impacted in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa between Madagascar and Mozambique killing at least seven people and injuring more than 200 others in the sovereign archipelago nation of Comoros. Wezombeli–The Scout Association of Comoros–mobilised their members to assist the population when the cyclone warning was issued.
Before the impact of the cyclone
The General Commissioner and his colleagues joined the National Crisis Management Unit under the guidance of the Comorian Ministry of the Interior where they shared their expertise working shoulder to shoulder with the authorities and the most relevant national NGOs and coordinating many of the actions carried out before, during and after Cyclone Kenneth made landfall.
The Preventive actions
The Scout leaders participated in the think tank for the response strategy to prepare for the eventuality of Cyclone Kenneth. Scouts contributed to raising awareness among the population of the cyclone warning and organised preventive actions to strengthen the security of houses across the country.
The cyclone made landfall with all its power in the North-East of the island where there are 4 active Scout groups. One of them is Scout Ngoulou located in Mbeni, a small city of 6500 inhabitants. Before the impact of Kenneth, about 40 of its members worked on the ground supported by elements of the National Development Army and the Red Crescent of the Hamahamet region.
Following instructions given by the Civil Security of Comoros (COSEP), they cut down more than 40 trees to avoid possible damage, especially those near houses–and reinforced around 70 of the very fragile sheet metal houses by laying bags of sand and stones on the roofs to withstand the power of the wind. Thanksfully, they held, saving a total of one hundred homes and families. However, the Scout group regretted that they did not have sufficient resources to do more, as they were able to cover the entire area of Hamahamet Mboinkou.
During the impact of Cyclone Kenneth
The Scouts of Comoros helped the Comorian Red Crescent and other rescue groups to evacuate victims to secure areas. After the impact, they worked on the decluttering of streets and assisting the poorest families with reconstruction so they could return to their houses in this period of the holy month of Ramadan. The Scouts were everywhere, but they had a challenge with visibility because most of them have no uniform. Some of them only had a scarf and others had nothing more than their Scout attitude and goodwill to help their neighbours with a big smile on their faces.
After the impact
On the morning of 25 April, after reconnaissance and assessment of the damage on the ground in the region of Itsandra, the Ngome Scout Group organised a gathering of Scouts and non-Scouts to form teams of volunteers on the West side of the main island, leading the operations to repair roofs and clear the roads, helping families to move to safer places and distributing food to the poorest families, in addition to the preventive actions they took before the hit.
The cyclone destroyed 3818 houses and severely damaged another 7013 leaving 45,000 people in need of assistance and shelter, including 20,000 people internally displaced, many of which are children.
Kenneth's winds and rains destroyed almost 80% of farms, more than 35% of the fruit trees and approximately 60–80% of the staple food crops, which will have a significant impact as agriculture is the main economic sector in the Comoros. With the start of Ramadan this week, the loss of staple food crops will cause food shortages and price inflation for other foodstuffs.
Cyclone Kenneth left great damage in a country where almost 50% of the population is under the age of 15 and half of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 USD per day.
The World Scout Solidarity
Wezombeli, the Scout Association of Comoros, has launched an appeal to the international Scout community for urgent funding to support its relief and recovery efforts on the island. Can we count on you?
The funds to be collected here will mainly be used for:
- The purchase of building materials like metal sheets, rafters, cement, paint, etc.
to support the reconstruction of Scout houses affected by the cyclone.
- Equip the Comoros Scouts with basic tools
to face these kind of catastrophes in the future.
- Provide the Scouts working in affected areas with a Scout uniform
to increase their visibility and help them stand out from other NGOs.
How your donations will help the Scouts during an emergency?
For the first 3 months, all monthly donations made through this appeal will support the relief efforts of Wezombeli, the Scout Association of the Comoros, related to Cyclone Kenneth. After this, they will go to the Emergency Fund of the World Scout Foundation so we can continue our work helping other Scouts whenever disaster strikes. In the unlikely event that the funds raised exceed funding requirements for this appeal, your gift will also go to our Emergency Fund.
Follow the post-cyclone actions of Wezombeli, the Scout Association of the Comoros on the blog Emergency Fund Stories