Save the Children has delivered 51 metric tons of vital aid to Mozambique at the start of an operation to help hundreds of thousands of children and families in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, the aid agency has said.
A cargo plane carrying 8,400 tarpaulins, 3,500 jerry cans, 2,500 buckets and 20 tents.
The aid agency has already started rushing the supplies to Chimoio, a town in the west of the country that lies close to the path of the cyclone. A Save the Children assessment team today spoke to families in the area who had lost everything.
"A family saw their brick house swept away from them. When they went to another house for safety, the roof collapsed," said Machiel Pouw, Save the Children's response team leader in Mozambique.
"Another family fled for safety in a tree. There are tens of thousands of heartbreaking stories like this, lives shattered over the past days."
While road access to Beira remains blocked by a collapsed bridge and the port is not yet in use, flights from Chimoio are the main way of getting aid to the port city, which is home to 600,000 people. Flights carrying supplies, including tents from Save the Children, have begun and are expected to ramp up significantly in the coming days.
As part of an aid consortium with Oxfam and Care, Save the Children is leading work to turn Chimoio into a key logistics hub for the response.
Machiel Pouw said: "As we fight to gain access to more and more of the country, the needs are skyrocketing. These supplies will help families store and carry safe water to guard against disease, and shelter from the continuing rains, both in the area around Chimoio and elsewhere in the country.
"It is incredibly tough to get to communities that have been cut off by the disaster. But we are working round the clock to get everywhere children need us and we have already started flying our prepositioned stocks of tents into Beira.
"It's thanks to the incredible support of people in the UK and around the world that we're able to deliver these supplies. But sadly we know this is just the beginning. Everyone in Mozambique is fighting against the odds to save lives. We need support to reach the huge numbers of children and their families whose futures are at stake."