Beira – Orlando Bloom is fresh off a trip from Mozambique – where he spent time in Beira, one of the areas worst-affected by Cyclone Idai, which killed over 600 people and destroyed nearly 240 000 homes when it made landfall in March.
With over a million children who remain in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of the tropical cyclones, Orlando – who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador – joined the charity organistion in the East African country to hear stories of children and families who have lost their homes and help anywhere they can.
"It's remarkable to see children, who have been through so much, gain a sense of normality in the safe spaces set up by UNICEF, where they are free to sing, dance, play and just be children,” said Orlando about meeting the community at the Samora Machel site for internally displaced people in Beira.
"These are children and young people with dreams, they want to be in school. But almost everyone I've met here has lost their classrooms, their books and crucial identification documents due to the cyclones. Without IDs they are unregistered, almost invisible and vulnerable to exploitation. It is heartbreaking."
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor also visited the Mutua resettlement area in Beira – which is currently home to around 1 500 people affected by the cyclones, nearly half of whom are children – where he danced and sang with young children and spoke to them about their hopes and dreams for the future.
During his three-day trip, Orlando also visited a primary school in Beira, which was damaged in the cyclone and later repaired by the students themselves.
Wrapping up his trip, the 42-year-old spent an afternoon with young volunteers at an interfaith group. Many of them told the actor that the pain and suffering they saw after the cyclones strengthened their resolve to help others. The group gathered on the beachfront, a symbolic venue, as the volunteers pointed out that the powerful storm emerged from the sea.
"Thousands of children and families in Mozambique have seen their lives upended by these devastating cyclones and it's going to be a long road back," said UNICEF Mozambique Representative, Marcoluigi Corsi.
"We're working on the ground with our partners to help get children and their families back on their feet by providing support in healthcare, nutrition, education and protection. As part of the recovery effort, we're also trying to help affected communities become more resilient to future weather-related events that could happen more often because of climate change."
UNICEF has launched an appeal for $122m to support its humanitarian response for children and families devastated by the storm and its aftermath in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.