Tropical Cyclone Idai - March 2019

Tropical Cyclone Idai - March 2019

Flooding in Malawi and Mozambique had affected nearly 843,000 people and caused at least 60 deaths as of 11 March, according to preliminary reports from the respective Governments. In Malawi, nearly 739,800 people had been impacted, according to the Government, with 45 deaths and 577 injuries recorded. More than 75,900 people were estimated to be displaced, with many ad hoc camps established and people living out in the open as their houses have been destroyed. Rapid needs assessments are ongoing in the areas hardest-hit by rains and flooding to verify initial estimates regarding the number of people affected and determine the number of people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.

As of 11 March, more than 103,100 people had been affected (more than 48,000 people in Zambezia, more than 51,200 in Tete and nearly 3,900 in Niassa), with 15 deaths recorded. Nearly 17,100 people are estimated to be displaced in Zambezia, Tete and Niassa, who are sheltering in 15 transit centres, and nearly 12,500 houses are reported to have been destroyed. Nearly 85,000 hectares of crops have been flooded, affecting more than 57,800 smallholder farmers. The water level was expected to rise in the next three days and may surpass the alert level in the Licungo, Zambeze, Pungoe and Buzi river basins.

Tropical Cyclone IDAI, which formed over the Northern Mozambique Channel on 9 March, was expected to make landfall near Beira on 14 or 15 March. The cyclone was located over the Mozambique Channel on 12 March and was expected to strengthen into intense tropical cyclone status (Category 4 equivalent) again prior to making landfall. Nearly 1.6 million people were estimated to live in areas that could be impacted by high wind speeds (>120km/h), according to the latest analysis from UNOSAT. After landfall, Cyclone Idai was expected to track inland, bringing heavy rain to central Mozambique and potentially into eastern Zimbabwe. (OCHA, 13 Mar 2019)


The national meteorological authorities (INAM) issued an alert on 9 March 2019 on the Tropical Depression active in Mozambique channel that was moving towards the coastal areas of Zambézia and Sofala and was to intensify in the next 24 hours to severe Tropical storm stage (wind speed 89-118 km/h). (UN RC for Mozambique, 10 Mar 2019) The alert issued on the 10th of March indicated that it had evolved from Tropical Depression to Moderate Tropical Storm called IDAI. (UN RC for Mozambique, 10 Mar 2019)

On 11 March 2019, the Government convened the Coordinating Council of Disaster Management (CCGC) to analyze the impact of the recent floods and the foreseen cyclone. Given the current and expected situation after the floods and cyclone, INAM estimated a total funding requirement of about US$ 18 million for food and non-food items. This funding estimate does not include the funds needed for emergency road work (estimated at US$ 13.9 million) to reset the road network which is 31% damaged in Zambézia and 50% damaged in Cabo Delgado. (UN RC for Mozambique, 12 Mar 2019)

Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall during the night of 14 to 15 March 2019 near Beira City, Sofala Province, in central Mozambique. The cyclone brought torrential rains and winds to Sofala, Zambezia, Manica and Inhambane provinces. The UN and humanitarian partners in Mozambique appealed for US$40.8 million to provide critical emergency relief to 400,000 people who were estimated to be affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai, based on projections of people living in the Cyclone’s path. (OCHA, 15 Mar 2019)

The extent of the damage was not yet fully known as access to Beira, a city of 500,000 people, was lost immediately after the cyclone. Roads were blocked and the airport was temporarily closed. Initial figures indicate 400,000 people have been displaced with many more affected. As of March 18, the death toll from Cyclone Idai’s landfall stands at 84 and according to media reports the President of Mozambique declared it could rise above 1,000 (IFRC, 19 March 2019)

Outside of Beira, a dam collapsed on 17 March, reportedly causing extensive damage. People reportedly sought refuge on the tops of their roofs and trees as rising floodwaters swept through the area. Initial aerial surveys indicated significant loss of life, although exact numbers of people impacted are not yet known. (OCHA, 18 Mar 2019)

The Government of Mozambique has issued a Note Verbale formally requesting international assistance[.] At least 242 people have died and more than 1,400 have been injured in the aftermath of the Cyclone Idai...The death toll is expected to continue to rise in the days ahead. [M]ore than 2,800 classrooms and 39 health centres impacted by the cyclone and floods. More than 17,400 houses have been totally destroyed (11,025), partially destroyed (4,363) or flooded (2,056)...[M]ore than 385,300 hectares of crops have been damaged[.] (OCHA, 21 Mar 2019)

The official death toll some 468 deaths as of 26 March; with more than 1,500 people injured[.] As of 26 March, nearly 91,000 houses were identified as totally destroyed (50,619), partially destroyed (24,556) or flooded (15,784); an increase of nearly 19,000 since 25 March. The number of people accommodated in 154 sites across Sofala (114 sites), Manica (26 sites), Zambezia (10 sites) and Tete (4 sites) was nearly 128,000 people as of 26 March. The authorities have identified more than 7,400 vulnerable people across the IDP sites. (OCHA, 26 Mar 2019)

On 27 March, the Government confirmed five cases of cholera at the Munhava health centre in the city of Beira and some 2,500 cases of acute watery diarrhoea in Beira district. A humanitarian assessment team identified nearly 1,500 people unreached people in need of support in Matarara in Chimoio district. Food drops were carried out to provide immediate assistance and follow-up is ongoing. Nearly 136,000 people were accommodated in 161 sites across Sofala (119 sites), Manica (27 sites), Zambezia (11 sites) and Tete (4 sites) as of 27 March; an increase of more than 9,200 people from 26 March. (OCHA, 27 Mar 2019)

The official death toll as of 3 April stood at 598 and more than 1,600 people injured, according to the Government. At least 131,100 people were still sheltering in 136 sites across Manica (21); Sofala (107); Tete (5) and Zambezia (3) as of 3 April. The number of vulnerable people reported by the Government in the accommodation sites rose significantly by more than 20,000 people to 27,764 as of 3 April. The number of houses destroyed rose by more than 86,000 from 2 April. More than 198,300 houses have been totally destroyed (85,265), partially destroyed (97,276) or flooded (15,784), with more than 715,000 hectares of crops reportedly destroyed, according to the Government. (OCHA, 3 Apr 2019)

The number of internally displaced people living in accommodation centres decreased to 68,974 people across 67 sites in Manica (32); Sofala (27); Tete (5) and Zambezia (3), as of 18 April. (OCHA, 18 Apr 2019)

As of 29 April, nearly 150,000 houses had been recorded as destroyed or damaged in Sofala province alone as a result of Tropical Cyclone Idai, including 60,898 totally destroyed and 89,066 partially destroyed, according to the Government. Some 17,901 displaced people were sheltering in 18 accommodation centres in Sofala province as of 28 April, in Buzi (7), Beira (5), Nhamatanda (4) and Dondo (2). Humanitarian response in remote locations remained constrained by damaged and cut-off roads, including in Chissange (Dondo), Wirikizi, Honve and Nhamassinzira (Muanza) and Cheadea, Nhampoca and Macorococho (Nhamatanda). (OCHA, 29 April) The number of displaced people sheltering in accommodation sites in Sofala province decreased to 21,384 people (4,639 families) as of 5 May. More than 286,000 people (57,222 families) have received shelter assistance. However, more shelter materials, including tents, are still needed. (OCHA, 6 May 2019) Two months on from Cyclone Idai's landfall on 14 March, the humanitarian response had reached more than 1.6 million people across the central region of Mozambique. Humanitarian action scaled-up rapidly, with more than 200 organisations joining the response and more than 1,000 aid workers deployed to the affected areas. However, the response remained severely under-funded, with just under 35 per cent of the required funding received. (OCHA, 17 May 2019)

The closure of temporary accommodation sites concluded on 18 June. The latest available data, reported a total of 63 resettlement sites, hosting 14,528 households and 66,118 persons across Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia as of 28 June; on 14 June, the number was 12,114 HH and 53,246 persons in 46 permanent sites. In light of this evolution, UNHCR continued to prioritize protection and assistance to IDPs in resettlement sites, in coordination with the Provincial Directorate of Gender, Child Protection and Social Affairs (DPGCAS) (UNHCR, 1 July 2019)

As of 10 July, (4 months on) the humanitarian response had reached more than 1.8 million people across the central region of Mozambique. Humanitarian action scaled-up rapidly, with more than 400 organizations joining the response and more than 1,000 aid workers deployed to the affected areas. However, the response remained s under-funded, with just under 45 per cent of the required funding received. (OCHA, 10 July 2019)

Eight months after Cyclone Idai hit the country, six months post Cyclone Kenneth, and with the rain/cyclone season approaching, more than half a million people (over 100,000 households) are reportedly still living in destroyed or damaged homes or makeshift shelters. Another nearly 92,500 people (over 18,000 households) remain displaced across 71 resettlement sites in the central and northern regions of the country, in dire need of food, water, education, shelter/NFIs, WASH, health and protection services. (OCHA, 19 Dec 2019)


Following its landfall in Mozambique on 14 March, Cyclone Idai continued across land as a Tropical Storm and hit eastern Zimbabwe with heavy rains and strong winds. The storm caused high winds and heavy precipitation in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts causing riverine and flash flooding and subsequent deaths, destruction of livelihoods and properties....At least 31 deaths have been reported and over 100 people are missing, according to preliminary information...At least 1,600 households (8,000 to 9,600 people) have been affected in Chimanimani, Chipinge, Nyanga and Mutare districts, Manicaland Province, as a result of flooding and landslides, according to initial information. Based on census data, 48 per cent of those affected are estimated to be children and 52 per cent are estimated to be women. In Tongogara Refugee Camp, nearly 300 people have been affected, with 49 houses damaged. Considerable damage to properties, livelihoods and infrastructure has also been reported in the districts in the storm’s path. (OCHA, 17 Mar 2019)

The flooding caused by the Tropical Cyclone Idai weather system since 15 March...continues to cause massive destruction, with heavy rains ongoing in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces of Zimbabwe. The hardest-hit district of Chimanimani remains inaccessible as heavy rains have damaged roads and main access bridges have been washed away. At least 82 deaths and over 200 injuries have been reported, mainly in Chimanimani, and 217 people are reportedly missing. Chimanimani mortuary is reportedly full. At least 923 homes have been destroyed in Chimanimani, Mutasa, Mutare, Chipinge, Buhera, Chikomba, Gutu and Bikita districts. In Chimanimani alone, eight bridges have been destroyed. In Buhera, the Marowanyati dam has overflowed and many families are displaced...Overall, more than 2,500 households (12,500 to 15,000 people) are estimated to be affected. (OCHA, 18 Mar 2019)

At least 181 deaths and 175 injuries have been reported and 330 people were reportedly missing in Zimbabwe as of 25 March...An estimated 270,000 people have been affected by flooding and are in need of humanitarian assistance in the seven districts—Chipinge, Chimanimani, Buhera, Bikita, Mutare, Gutu, and Chiredzi. The vast majority of people affected are in Chipinge (122,000) and Chimanimani (115,000) districts. (OCHA, 27 Mar 2019)

The humanitarian response to cyclone-affected districts in the eastern part of the country increased as all wards were accessible by road as of 24 April, although some only by 4X4 vehicles. Many clusters completed or were about to complete in-depth assessments in all affected districts, which afforded a more refined analysis of the needs and a tailored humanitarian response in the short term, and also contributed to the medium- to long-term recovery plan. (OCHA, 24 April 2019)

The Mi8 helicopter completed 46 rotations, transporting a total of 89.7mt of relief items on behalf of 8 partners. Helicopter cargo operations were discontinued on 27 April as all districts are now accessible by road again. All previously inaccessible schools, except one, were now accessible. The first round of the Oral Cholera Vaccination (OCV) campaign ended on 27 April in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts, A total of 482 910 (102 per cent) individuals were vaccinated. A second round campaign is planned in June 2019. (OCHA, 30 April 2019)

By May 6th, 40,000 textbooks were distributed to affected schools in Chimanimani and Chipinge ahead of reopening. 18 Temporary Learning Spaces were established in the worst affected schools. Screening of children under age 5 for acute malnutrition was ongoing, with 20,043 screened in April (50 per cent of the cluster target). Temporary latrines were constructed at 80 per cent of all affected schools in Chimanimani and Chipinge. Nearly 25,000 households were reached with nonfood items in affected areas, and over 10,000 individuals received shelter support. Funding being made available by the private sector was sufficient to cover about 27,500 people, i.e. most of the affected households in the district. Meanwhile the World Bank announced its intention to provide up to $75M for the cyclone-response with emphasis on early recovery. (OCHA, 6 May 2019)

The re-location of displaced people residing in schools had been completed enabling all schools to re-open on 7 May. Families were moved to serviced camp sites in Chimanimani. Transition to early recovery activities was underway – the sector assessment had been completed and the World Bank had a delegation in-country to finalize sectoral programming. (OCHA, 14 May 2019)

As of 6 June, about 15,270 people remain displaced, most of them stay in host communities, while some shelter in collective centres and camps. A shortage of tents is delaying the opening of the third temporary camp. Nevertheless, this camp will not be enough to cover total numbers remaining in collective centres. The informal camp settlement in Kopa is a continuing concern (OCHA, 14 May 2019)

Some 224 families who were unable to return home continued to live in four camps in Cyclone Idai-affected areas. As the camps will remain over the rainy season, sanitation and bathing facilities need to be strengthened, as do protection measures, particularly to prevent gender-based violence. (OCHA, 19 Dec 2019)

For the flooding situation in Malawi, see "Malawi: Floods - Jan 2019".

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