Cyclone Idai

Strongest Cyclone to Hit Southern Africa

At least 1.5 million people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have been affected.

 

About Cyclone Idai

On the night of Thursday, March 14, 2019, Mozambique was hit by tropical Cyclone Idai. The storm, which evolved into a Category 3 cyclone, hit Mozambique with a speed of over 125 mph. At least 1.5 million people in the region (Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe) have been affected.

Mozambique is the hardest hit; the storm has directly impacted more than 400,000 people there. The cyclone has caused massive destruction to infrastructure – particularly in the city of Beira with more than 500,000 residents – and nearby cities and villages, causing a complete power outage. Major road networks have been completely blocked by fallen trees and rubble, and Beira is inaccessible by road. The airport in Beira resumed limited flight services on Sunday, March 17. Buildings, including houses, schools, and health facilities have been partly or completely destroyed. Rescue teams have found thousands of people stranded on their rooftops waiting to be rescued.

In Malawi, 14 districts are affected. The most affected districts are Chiwawa and Nsanje, both districts border Mozambique. In 2015, a similar flood affected the same area and some of the settlements remained for 3 months. Based on this experience, it is likely that the settlements will remain for some time. Therefore, the authorities have asked for shelter material. The idea is to move them in family unit, rather than the current disaggregation of women and men in these temporary settlements.

In Zimbabwe, the storm caused high winds and heavy precipitation in the east of the country, causing rivers to overflow. At least 98 deaths have been reported so far and hundreds are still missing. There has been flash flooding, landslides and destruction of livelihoods and properties.

 

What CARE is Doing

CARE’s emergency experts, as part of a coalition of humanitarian organizations, coordinated with the government of Mozambique to assess the damage while  providing search and rescue support around Beira. CARE has sent 13 trucks to the cyclone-affected area, carrying 500 tents, 200 roles of plastic sheeting and rope for temporary shelter, 2800 family kits and over 2000 hygiene and family packages containing items such as soap, buckets, mosquito nets, blankets, tarpaulins, and water canisters to reduce risk of disease. However, as bridges have collapsed, the convoy was re-routed to the nearby city of Chimoio, where CARE is working with the UN and other agencies to set up a second logistics hub.  This second hub will be used to airlift supplies into affected communities.

In Malawi, CARE is working with the local authorities to support the affected communities and have deployed staff to assess the needs and gather the necessary data, to ensure our response is effective and addresses people’s needs. And in Zimbabwe CARE is assessing the situation to respond based on identified needs and in coordination with other aid agencies.

*Updated March 2019