CARE commences aid distribution as Cyclone Idai crisis is declared regional crisis across Southern Africa

CARE commences aid distribution as Cyclone Idai is declared regional crisis across Southern Africa

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•    Aid agency sets up committees to protect women and girls from abuse
•    Spokespeople available for print and broadcast interviews in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi

MAPUTO (March 22, 2019) – CARE staff today continued distributing shelter and sanitation kits to communities affected by the destructive Cyclone Idai in Malawi and Mozambique.

The aid agency’s experts are assessing and monitoring the scale of the devastation as rescue workers race against time to save hundreds of people who are still clinging onto roofs and trees. 

In Mozambique, CARE and its partners airlifted family-sized tents, buckets and emergency kits. These kits – including blankets, mosquito nets and other supplies - were delivered to areas that are inaccessible by road, including parts of Beira and in nearby Guara Guara. CARE assessment teams report that food and clean water remain critical needs, however, and families with children are struggling the most.

Cyclone Idai swept across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving behind a trail of destruction, killing hundreds and affecting an estimated 2.6 million people. The full scale of the disaster is still unfolding, and more heavy rain is forecast.

CARE today distributed thousands of water containers and packages of plastic roofing sheets for evacuees of the crisis in Malawi. CARE experts have also established 21 protection committees in camps to ensure women and girls are protected from abuse.

“Following a natural disaster like Cyclone Idai, women and girls and particularly vulnerable. Informal camps are set up, often in schools and churches. Families are often separated, with men, women and children occupying different buildings. These buildings tend to be overcrowded with poor lighting,” Jessica Swart, CARE spokesperson, said.

“Our committees are made up of 10 people, each with at least 50 percent representation from women. They have an important role in disseminating messages on protection against sexual exploitation and abuse; and gender-based violence,” she explained.

Today CARE also declared Cyclone Idai a regional disaster as experts described the storm as one of the worst weather-related emergencies ever to strike the Southern Hemisphere.

“We have declared Idai a regional disaster because all signs show that it’s a crisis with long-term repercussions,” said Caroline Kende-Robb, CARE International’s secretary general. 

“In the immediate instance, our teams are responding with relief aid on the ground. We are receiving frequent updates that roads are impassable and communication networks across all three affected countries (Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe) have been cut off. In some contexts, there are no sanitation structures to talk of with latrines and sewage systems washed away and destroyed. 

About CARE:
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education and health, create economic opportunity, respond to emergencies and confront hunger. Last year CARE worked in 93 countries and reached more than 63 million people around the world. Learn more at

Media Contact
Nicole Harris,, 404-735-0871 **Photos and footage available upon request. 

High-energy biscuits and bottles of water are being flown to isolated villages, islands among the flood waters. CARE staff continued distributing shelter and sanitation kits to communities affected by the destructive Cyclone Idai in Malawi and Mozambique. Credit: Josh Estey/CARE