Cyclone Idai appeal launched

Cyclone idai web

Millions of people across three African countries have been affected by the natural disaster

20th March 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

An emergency appeal to help those in Africa affected by a devastating cyclone has been launched.

More than a million people have been affected by severe flooding in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe with the numbers rising rapidly as the full extent of the damage becomes clearer, Christian Aid has warned.

Cyclone Idai - carrying heavy rains and winds of up to 170km/h (106mp/h) - made landfall at the port of Beira, Mozambique’s fourth largest city, on Thursday night (14 March), leaving the 500,000 residents without power and communications lines down.

The cyclone follows a week of heavy rains and flooding across South East Africa that has already killed at least 145 people in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. The President of Mozambique has warned that the number could exceed 1,000.

Nicholas Shamano, Christian Aid country director in Zimbabwe, said: “The situation is already dire. Lives, livelihoods, infrastructure and property have been lost. The priority now must be on addressing the immediate needs of the affected communities. But we also need to focus on addressing the effects of natural disasters and improve disaster preparedness for communities at risk to ensure resilience to extreme weather systems”

Christian Aid is appealing for much-needed funds to help people in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

The charity has released emergency reserves to help with the immediate relief response. It is working through its partners in Malawi and Zimbabwe to provide food, shelter, clothing, water, healthcare, sanitation, hygiene and psycho-social support services. Special needs for children, women, the disabled, elderly and vulnerable groups will be part of Christian Aid’s focus.

The cyclone moved across Mozambique to Zimbabwe over the weekend. Nearly 1.6 million people are estimated to live in areas that could be impacted by high winds and rainfall.

In Malawi, more than 992,000 people have been impacted in 14 affected districts – including more than 75,900 displaced, with 56 deaths and 577 injuries recorded according to the government.

Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland, said: “My colleagues in Malawi have shared with me their pain that years of work have been washed away within a space of four days. Livelihoods have been turned over and we have to start rebuilding the lives of the vulnerable populations for whom we have worked so hard to help restore dignity.

“Malawi holds a special place in the hearts of Scots. There is a heightened awareness of the current struggle and people are already responding. Christian Aid’s partners on the ground in Malawi and Zimbabwe are working hard to provide the basic resources desperately needed now and will be there to help strengthen fragile infrastructures. When the storm is over, the work will continue. Thanks to everyone for their generous, active concern.”

While the full extent of the cyclone’s impact is not yet clear, it is likely to include damage to schools and health facilities; road networks, telecommunications, damage to water and sanitation infrastructure; impeding access to safe water for affected communities; bringing a heightened risk of water-borne diseases, destruction of people’s homes, and increased protection risks.