Southern Africa - Tropical Cyclone Idai - Fact Sheet #4 FY2019

Speeches Shim

April 3, 2019

Numbers At A Glance


Official Confirmed Deaths in Mozambique


Number of Deaths Deaths in Zimbabwe

1.85 million

Estimated Number of People in Need of Assistance in Mozambique


Estimated Number of People in Accommodation Centers in Mozambique


Estimated Houses Damaged or Destroyed in Mozambique

1.77 million

Estimated Acres of Crops Damaged or Destroyed in Mozambique

Humanitarian Funding


USAID/FFP $35,658,852
USAID/OFDA $3,131,407
DoD $1,649,024
TOTAL $40,439,283


  • USG announces nearly $33 million in additional funding for the Tropical Cyclone Idai response
  • USAID/FFP partner WFP provides food assistance to 350,000 people in Mozambique
  • USAID staff assess affected areas in Zimbabwe
  • Government of Malawi launches response plan requesting $45.2 million to respond to flooding

On April 3, the U.S. Government (USG) announced nearly $33 million in additional assistance to populations affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The funding includes contributions to USAID/FFP partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) to provide life-saving food assistance to more than 1.6 million cyclone-affected people in both countries.

As of April 2, the official number of confirmed deaths in Mozambique had increased to 598, while injuries increased to more than 1,600, according to the Government of Mozambique (GoM). The GoM reports that approximately 131,600 people were sheltering in 136 accommodation sites in Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambézia provinces as of April 2. In addition, the number of homes damaged or destroyed by the cyclone has increased to more than 112,000, according to the GoM.

The GoM Ministry of Health had reported more than 1,420 cholera cases, including two deaths, in Sofala’s Beira and Dondo towns as of April 2, according to the UN. In response, health agencies began a cholera vaccination campaign for nearly 900,000 people on April 3. In addition, health actors are coordinating with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health to strengthen surveillance systems.

The first of several USAID-chartered airlifts of USAID/OFDA emergency relief commodities arrived in Beira on March 30. The supplies include shelter materials, blankets, kitchen sets, latrines, and water treatment systems. In addition, DoD—at USAID’s request—is transporting humanitarian cargo and supplies funded by USAID and other donors to Beira to support cyclone-affected populations.

From March 29–30, USAID staff observed humanitarian conditions in Zimbabwe, noting that Tropical Cyclone Idai had damaged key infrastructure and water supply networks. Humanitarian agencies are providing assistance to affected populations, where access permits.

Current Situation

As of April 2, Tropical Cyclone Idai had resulted in at least 598 deaths, representing an increase of 105 deaths since March 29, according to the GoM. Relief organizations expect casualty figures to continue to rise as flood waters recede and relief agencies identify additional deaths. Approximately 131,600 people were sheltering in 136 accommodation centers across Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambézia as of April 2, the GoM reports. The number of people in accommodation centers represents a decrease of approximately 9,200 people since March 29, which the UN attributes to the GoM relocating individuals from centers created in schools and health centers so that the be buildings can be used for their intended purpose.

As of April 2, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had reached an agreement with the GoM to pause all relocation of populations sheltering in accommodation centers. In addition, the GoM has agreed to announce any future population relocation operations to allow humanitarian actors sufficient time to prepare for and plan voluntary, safe, and dignified relocations or returns.

The number of homes damaged or destroyed by the cyclone had increased to more than 112,000, according to the UN. In addition, the amount of crops damaged or destroyed by the cyclone has increased to 1.77 million.

As of April 2, the GoM Ministry of Health had reported more than 1,420 cholera cases, including two cholera-related deaths, in Beira and Dondo. Health actors are coordinating with WHO and the Ministry of Health to strengthen surveillance systems in affected areas and facilitate information sharing among health agencies. USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) health and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) specialists also noted that discrepancies in reporting are creating difficulties in identifying areas of transmission and appropriately tailoring WASH interventions to prevent the spread of the disease.

Relief agencies are scaling up operations in areas outside of Beira, including Sofala’s Buzi District, where humanitarian organizations are using boats and planes to deliver supplies due to the district’s inaccessibility by road. An OCHA assessment team also traveled to Inhambane Province’s Vilanculos town on April 1 and plan to continue traveling to areas north of the town to conduct a more thorough assessment of humanitarian conditions.

Humanitarian Response and Gaps

In response to reported cholera cases, health agencies began a cholera vaccination campaign that will reach nearly 900,000 people through fixed and mobile vaccination teams on April 3. DART members also recently met with GoM and WHO staff, who noted that the GoM is in the process of establishing nine cholera treatment centers (CTCs) across the affected areas and is planning to construct additional CTCs in the coming weeks. Médecins Sans Frontières plan to operate seven of the nine CTCs.

OCHA is working to bolster community engagement and disseminate information about the availability of humanitarian assistance and basic services through radio messaging and door-to-door campaigns. Community engagement staff are also working to clarify details about the delivery of assistance. In addition, a multi-sector cash assistance coordination working group co-led by WFP and World Vision is engaging in advocacy with the GoM to address restrictions on the use of cash-based assistance in emergency response.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix and the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster are working to create a map of accommodation centers across Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambézia and gathering information about individuals in the centers. As of March 30, the organizations had mapped 32 accommodation centers and gathered information regarding the services available to individuals sheltering in the centers. A majority of the residents cited damage or destruction of homes as the primary reason they could not return to areas of origin.

OCHA reports that shelter is becoming a critical need in Manica’s Chimoio town, given the movement of affected populations from accommodation centers to other areas. The UN agency conducted field visits to areas of Manica on April 1 to assess conditions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had to vacate accommodation centers.

The USG announced an additional $33 million in humanitarian assistance to cyclone-affected populations in on April 3. The announcement includes a $29.2 million contribution to USAID/FFP partner WFP to provide more than 17,000 metric tons (MT) of locally and regionally procured emergency food commodities—including rice, peas, fortified cereal, and vegetable oil—and food vouchers for the purchase of food in local markets, to nearly 1.5 million people in Mozambique. The contribution also includes 275 MT of USAID/FFP in-kind food and nutrition commodities valued at more than $560,000 that are being airlifted by DoD from USAID/FFP’s warehouse in Djibouti to Beira.

As of April 1, WFP had reached 350,000 people with food assistance in Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambézia. The UN agency is working with several local and international non-governmental organizations to scale up operations to reach approximately 500,000 people by April 5, the majority of whom have only received ad hoc food assistance since the beginning of the humanitarian response.

On March 30, the first USAID-chartered airlift of USAID/OFDA emergency relief supplies arrived in Beira, with additional airlifts occurring in the coming days. USAID/OFDA partners IOM and World Vision plan to distribute the supplies, which include enough plastic sheeting to provide temporary shelter to nearly 11,000 households, blankets and kitchen sets for more than 6,000 households, material to construct more than 300 latrines, and water treatment systems capable of providing safe drinking water to 28,000 people per day.

At the request of USAID, DoD is transporting approximately 100 MT of WFP ready-to-use supplementary food from Durban, South Africa to Beira for the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). These commodities will provide treatment for approximately 10,000 children experiencing MAM for three months. To date, DoD has provided transportation assistance valued at more than $1.6 million.

On March 31, DART health and WASH experts traveled to Beira and Dondo to conduct rapid assessments and gather additional information regarding health and WASH capacity at the local level. DART staff report that emergency and primary health care services are available in Beira, complemented by WHO Emergency Medical Teams. DART staff also visited several health facilities in and around Dondo, noting that the health clinic in Dondo experienced elevated numbers of births due to the closure or inaccessibility of other health facilities in the area.

USAID/FFP recently contributed $2.5 million to WFP to provide emergency food assistance to approximately 133,200 individuals affected by the cyclone in Chimanimani and Chipinge. The contribution includes more than 2,000 MT of U.S. in-kind sorghum, vegetable oil, and fortified cereals from USAID/FFP’s warehouse in Durban. Part of the contribution will also support implementation of a robust monitoring system, including a beneficiary feedback mechanism, to ensure assistance is reaching those in need.

From March 29–30, three USAID staff visited communities in Zimbabwe’s Chimanimani and Chipinge districts affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai. The staff identified a priority need for additional shelter support in Chimanimani District’s Chimanimani town—where flooding and landslides caused extensive damage. As of March 29, at least 300 people displaced by the cyclone were sheltering in a hotel in the town. The team also reported that a UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) helicopter is serving Chimanimani, though only certain landing sites in the district can accommodate the large aircraft, which has a capacity of at least double that of GoZ helicopters currently utilized in the response. As of March 29, UNHAS had delivered nearly 6 MT of relief commodities in Chimanimani District, though some communities remain inaccessible. UNHAS is working to establish additional landing zones in the district.

In Chipinge, the USAID staff observed that the cyclone had severely damaged the district’s water supply network, leaving more than 30,000 people without regular access to safe drinking water. As of March 29, relief agencies were working to restore water access in the district, and residents were temporarily utilizing safe drinking water provided through privately-funded water truck deliveries. Humanitarian organizations also report that the district’s Civil Protection Unit suspended distribution of food and relief items pending an assessment of the number of affected households most in need of humanitarian assistance. In addition, some areas of the district remain inaccessible due to fuel shortages and damage to bridges and roads caused by flood waters, relief actors report.

With $100,000 in USAID/OFDA support, GOAL is providing water purification tablets, hygiene materials, and other WASH supplies to affected populations in Chipinge in the coming days.

On March 29, the Government of the Republic of Malawi launched a three-month response plan and appeal, requesting $45.2 million for humanitarian activities following flooding in the country caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai. As of April 1, the plan had received $14.6 million in funding from international donor governments and other agencies. The plan—developed in collaboration with the Humanitarian Country Team in Malawi—will target the more than 868,900 people affected by the storm, including nearly 87,000 IDPs. Women and children account for more than 60 percent of the displaced population, according to the government.

Flooding caused by the cyclone is likely to exacerbate existing humanitarian needs in Malawi. Agricultural production accounts for approximately 30 percent of Malawi’s economic activity and approximately 80 percent of its export revenue, according to the government. As such, it is likely that the potential loss of harvest will impact livelihoods in the medium and long-term. In addition, the impacts are likely to be greater among women, as approximately 70 percent of women in affected districts are small-scale farmers whose main source of livelihood is agricultural production.

The cyclone impacted 15 districts in Malawi, with Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Machinga, Nsanje, Phalombe, and Zomba districts experiencing severe damage, according to WFP. As of March 30, limited road access continued to hamper humanitarian response activities, while some areas in Nsanje and Phalombe remained accessible only by air, WFP reports. The UN agency identified several logistical challenges—including insufficient storage capacity, limited transport capacity, and lack of coordination—impeding aid mobilization.

A plane carrying nearly 90 MT of relief items dispatched by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) arrived in Malawi’s capital of Lilongwe on April 2. The cargo, which includes relief commodities such as kitchen kits, mosquito nets, tarpaulins, and tents, will benefit host communities and more than 4,400 Mozambicans who fled into Nsanje following Tropical Cyclone Idai. Additional UNHCR flights are scheduled in the coming days.

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 cyclone also caused significant flooding, damage and destruction of property and infrastructure, and resulted in numerous deaths in southern Malawi’s Chichawa, Nsanje, Phalombe, and Zomba districts and Zimbabwe’s Manicaland Province. The same weather system had previously brought heavy rains that caused significant flooding in Malawi and Mozambique in early March, before gaining strength in the Mozambique Channel and evolving into a tropical cyclone.

On March 10, U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia E. Palmer declared a disaster due to the effects of floods in
Malawi. In response USAID/OFDA provided an initial $200,000 to CARE and Catholic Relief Services. On March 15, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Dennis W. Hearne declared a disaster due to the effects of floods in Mozambique. Ambassador Hearne declared a second disaster on March 19 due to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. In response, USAID/OFDA provided $200,000 to CARE to procure emergency relief commodities and support shelter and WASH interventions. USAID/OFDA also provided $200,000 to World Vision to response to immediate WASH and shelter needs. On March 18, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian A. Nichols declared a disaster due to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Idai. In response USAID/OFDA provided an initial $100,000 to GOAL to procure emergency relief commodities and support shelter and water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions.

On March 20, USAID activated a DART to lead the USG response to Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. USAID also stood up a Washington, D.C.-based Response Management Team (RMT) to support the DART. The DART and RMT are responding to the situation in coordination with other USG counterparts, GoM representatives, and humanitarian partners.

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: April 04, 2019

Share This Page