Mozambique - Tropical Cyclone Idai - Fact Sheet #2 FY2019

Speeches Shim

March 25, 2019

Numbers At A Glance


Official Confirmed Deaths in Mozambique

1.85 million

Estimated Number of People in Need due to the Cyclone


Estimated Number of People Displaced


Estimated Houses Damaged or Destroyed

1.2 million

Estimated Acres of Crops Damaged or Destroyed

Humanitarian Funding

IN FY 2019

USAID/FFP $3,370,000
USAID/OFDA $200,000
TOTAL $3,570,000


  • GoM, UN humanitarian rapid response teams distribute assistance to hard-to-reach areas
  • USAID DART conducts aerial and ground assessments of disaster-affected areas
  • Tropical Cyclone Idai damages or destroys approximately 72,200 houses and more than 1.2 million acres of crops, including 644,500 acres in Manica

Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall over Mozambique’s city of Beira, Sofala Province, on March 15, producing torrential rains and strong winds and severely affecting Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambézia provinces. The Government of Mozambique (GoM) reported at least 447 confirmed deaths in the country as of March 25, with the numbers expected to rise significantly in the coming days. The cyclone has affected an estimated 1.85 million people, according to relief agencies.

The GoM National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) and humanitarian actors are continuing to expand relief operations to reach additional populations in need. In recent days, receding waters have allowed for increased access to hard-to-reach areas, such as Sofala’s Nhamatanda District. Relief organizations have begun conducting assessments in Nhamatanda, as well as Manica Province’s Dombe town, and are distributing emergency food and relief commodities in these locations. Rapid response teams are also distributing seven-day rations of emergency food and safe drinking water to hard-to-reach areas to sustain populations until further assistance can be provided.

On March 24, the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) traveled to Sofala’s Beira city and Manica’s Chimoio city, confirming extensive logistical capacity and expansive relief operations currently underway from the cities to other affected locations. The DART continues to identify emergency food, health, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance as priority needs in the response. As of March 25, USAID had provided nearly $3.6 million in food, shelter, and WASH support and was communicating with humanitarian partners on the ground to determine additional needs.

As of March 25, the GoM had confirmed 447 deaths and at least 1,500 injuries due to the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. GoM and relief actors anticipate that the fatality figure will continue to rise in the coming days as more areas become accessible to confirm deaths.

Relief actors continue to report that 400,000 people were likely displaced by the cyclone. As of March 24, more than 128,900 people were sheltering in approximately 140 accommodation centers, which are mostly churches and schools, in affected areas. Relief agencies note severe overcrowding in some of the accommodation centers and highlighted protection concerns given the congestion of the sites and resultant lack of privacy and security. Humanitarian actors are also concerned about the potential for waterborne illness outbreaks in the sites, particularly as waters have not fully receded and displaced persons lack access to sanitation and hygiene commodities. In response, the GoM is working to establish additional accommodation centers to reduce overcrowding, while also increasing capacity of current centers through overflow tents. Humanitarian organizations are scaling up distribution of relief commodities, including WASH items, in accommodation centers to reduce health concerns.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) continues to gather additional information about the impact of the cyclone. More than 74,600 women estimated to be pregnant were potentially affected by the storm, approximately 60 percent of whom are scheduled to give birth in the next six months, the UN agency reports. In addition, more than 1 million children were impacted by the storm, although the number could be much higher, according to OCHA. More than 1,700 people with disabilities have also been affected by the cyclone, OCHA reports. In total, the cyclone destroyed or damaged an estimated 72,200 houses; more than 3,100 classrooms; nearly 50 health centers; and more than 1.2 million acres of crops as of March 24, representing an increase from initial estimates reported in recent days, according to the GoM.

Farmers in Mozambique planned to harvest crops in the coming weeks, and the extensive damage to farmland is likely to result in a deterioration of food security conditions, necessitating both immediate and longer-term food assistance, relief organizations report. Humanitarian actors are especially concerned about Manica, where the cyclone destroyed approximately 644,500 acres of crops—more than 51 percent of the total acreage damaged countrywide. The destruction in Manica has impacted nearly 40,000 subsistence farming households, according to OCHA.

In Beira, electrical power grids in the city remain largely non-functional, leaving large portions of the city without power as of March 23, according to OCHA. From March 22–23, the water supply in Beira was restored due to the dispatch of seven generators provided by relief agencies to the city; however, the water remained untreated as of March 23, and relief agencies were working to procure water treatment and other supplies to respond. Flooding also damaged or destroyed many of Beira’s WASH facilities, resulting in increased risk of waterborne illnesses in the city.

Commodity prices continue to increase in Beira due to limited access, destruction of the main road into the city, and ongoing supply chain issues. OCHA reported basic commodity price increases of more than 300 percent for some items in the city as of March 23. Notwithstanding, DART assessments indicate that market activity has restarted and businesses and shops have reopened in many areas of the city as of March 24. Partners are scaling up multi-sector assistance in and around Beira, including distributing relief supplies and food assistance.

Relief actors continue to cite access as a major constraint to humanitarian assistance; some of the roads in and around Beira are still inundated or blocked by fallen trees and other debris, making access difficult in some areas. Humanitarian agencies reported that several access roads in and around Chinde and Moçambique cities remained impassable as of March 24. However, repairs were ongoing and the N6 road—a major thoroughfare that connects Beira to Chimoio—and the Maputo–Chimoio road were reportedly temporarily repaired and accessible as of March 25, representing a major development in access in and around Beira and Chimoio. This will also reduce the amount of airdrops required to deliver assistance to those in need.

The water levels of Sofala’s Buzi and Pungwe rivers had reportedly receded as of March 24, but the region remains at risk of additional flooding as rains were continuing in multiple locations. On March 24, OCHA reported that Tete Province’s Cahora Bassa dam was at capacity and the GoM planned to release 3,000 cubic meters of water; however, no additional flooding is expected from the release of the water. The Save River in Zimbabwe is also well beyond capacity and the release of any water from the river’s Marowanyati dam could trigger additional flooding in Mozambique’s Inhambane Province; however, the Government of Zimbabwe had reportedly not planned to release water from the dam as of March 24, OCHA reports.

On March 23, the Interagency Standing Committee—a coalition of donor organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and UN agencies—activated a three-month Emergency Scale-Up for the response to Cyclone Idai. This designation will enable OCHA to garner attention and support from the larger humanitarian community as well as leaders within UN agencies, and allow for the additional deployment of humanitarian personnel and assets to enhance the response.

OCHA, in coordination with the GoM, has established an operations center and a Receptions and Departures Center (RDC) at the airport in Beira and plans to establish an additional RDC at the Chimoio airport to enhance coordination in this area of the country. The purpose of the RDCs is to track humanitarian organizations operating in a specific area, and OCHA requested that all agencies register personnel at the RDCs when they arrive and checkout when they leave. In recent days, OCHA had established a coordination hub in Chimoio, making it the third such hub in addition to existing hubs in Beira and Quelimane Province. The hubs serve as operations centers for OCHA and other agencies to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and are being established in conjunction with the GoM.

UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams have deployed to OCHA’s coordination hubs in Beira and Chimoio as of March 24. The UNDAC members will provide additional humanitarian coordination support and serve as the liaison between the GoM and relief actors operating on the ground in the affected areas. The UNDAC team also anticipates the arrival of a dam expert who will work to monitor dam water levels, as well as provide technical expertise regarding the possibility of additional flooding related to the release of water from dams in the affected areas.

The INGC, in coordination with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is planning to construct smaller camps for an average of 25-30 families each to transfer people sheltering in overcrowded accommodation centers; relief actors are especially focused on relocating populations from school buildings so the schools can resume normal operations

Rapid response teams comprising UN and INGC staff are identifying liaisons in remote communities to deliver food assistance and safe drinking water sufficient to support people for seven days. The rapid response teams were also in the process of geotagging areas to build a grid to organize emergency operations, focusing on Sofala’s Dondo district, and working to construct an operations center near the area to establish a point for distribution of emergency relief supplies.

Relief actors and the UN were able to conduct assessments in previously inaccessible areas in recent days. In Manica, UN agencies conducted an assessment of Dombe town, which was previously inaccessible on March 24. OCHA was compiling data from the assessments on the ground as of March 25. According to the INGC, there were 122 confirmed deaths in Dombe alone and nearly 14,900 people were sheltering in accommodation centers throughout Manica.

According to the INGC, the Navy of Mozambique is conducting search and rescue operations in Manica in coordination with NGOs and other agencies. However, as the flood waters recede, organizations are scaling down search and rescue operations and the delivery of humanitarian assistance is rapidly scaling up.

On March 24, the DART conducted an assessment mission to Beira and Chimoio to observe humanitarian operations and conditions in the cities. The DART observed extensive relief operations occurring in both hubs, with food and other relief commodities being rapidly dispatched from the hubs to affected areas via helicopters and trucks. During the visits, the DART met with the INGC, who confirmed that search and rescue operations were demobilizing and relief operations across sectors were expanding. The INGC reported that food assistance, health care, shelter supplies, and WASH services were priority needs of affected populations. In response, USAID plans to dispatch relief commodities from its warehouses in Dubai, UAE and Pisa, Italy to Mozambique in the coming days. USAID partner World Vision is also providing shelter items and water containers to populations in Beira and Dondo, as well as relief commodity kits—including WASH items—to populations in Zambézia’s Maganja da Costa and Mocuba districts.

DART members reported that NGOs and UN agencies in Beira established an effective operations center at the airport and were dispatching emergency relief supplies to populations in need. The DART noted a dramatic improvement and scale-up of the response compared to the previous DART assessment on March 20. Markets were reportedly also functioning in the city and street vendors were selling goods. Despite many fallen trees, the roads were clear within the city and there were no reports of tension or violence.

In recent days, USAID provided WFP nearly $3.4 million for emergency food assistance to support the UN agency’s efforts in the response. The funding will provide nearly 2,600 metric tons of food commodities—including rice, pulses, and vegetable oil—to assist 160,000 people with one-month food rations.

The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for disaster responses around the world can be found at

USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietarily, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

More information can be found at:

  • USAID Center for International Disaster Information: or +1.202.661.7710.
  • Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at

Last updated: March 29, 2019

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