Southern Africa - Tropical Cyclone Idai - Fact Sheet #5 FY2019

April 5, 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 $4,569,083
DoD $3,192,488
TOTAL $43,420,4233


  • Health agencies reach 32,000 people during cholera vaccination campaign in one day
  • USAID food and nutrition commodities begin to arrive in Mozambique
  • UN releases revised flash appeal for Zimbabwe, requesting $60 million to respond to Tropical Cyclone Idai
  • USAID staff assess damages and humanitarian needs generated by cyclone-related flooding in Malawi

As of April 5, the official number of confirmed deaths in Mozambique remained constant at 598 and the number of injuries remained unchanged at more than 1,600, according to the Government of the Republic of Mozambique (GRM). The GRM reports that approximately 129,800 people were sheltering in 129 accommodation sites in Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambézia provinces as of April 5. In addition, the number of homes damaged or destroyed by the cyclone has increased to more than 216,700, according to the GRM.

The GRM Ministry of Health (MoH) had reported nearly 2,100 cholera cases, including two deaths, in Sofala’s Beira and Dondo towns and Buzi District as of April 5, according to the UN. In response, health agencies are conducting a cholera vaccination campaign, reaching 32,000 people on the first day.

On April 2, the first of five planned airlifts of USAID food and nutrition commodities, including fortified cereals and fortified vegetable oil, arrived in Beira from USAID‘s warehouse in Djibouti. The commodities will provide food and nutrition assistance to an estimated 160,000 people impacted by the cyclone for one month.

The UN released a revised flash appeal for Zimbabwe on April 5, requesting an additional $60 million to address the humanitarian needs of approximately 270,000 people affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai. As of April 5, international donors had contributed nearly $5.4 million to the cyclone-related appeal, according to the UN.

On April 3, two USAID staff arrived in Malawi to conduct assessments of cyclone-related damages and humanitarian needs. Relief organizations highlighted agriculture, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) needs and noted that displaced populations were sheltering in camps, churches, and schools with limited sanitation facilities.

Current Situation

As of April 5, Tropical Cyclone Idai had resulted in at least 598 deaths, according to the GRM. In addition, approximately 129,800 people were sheltering in 129 accommodation centers across Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambézia as of April 5, the GRM reports. The number of people in accommodation centers represents a decrease of approximately 1,800 people since April 3, which the UN attributes to the GRM relocating individuals from centers located in schools and health centers so that the buildings can be used for their intended purpose. The number of homes damaged or destroyed by the cyclone had increased to more than 216,700, according to the GRM.

The MoH had reported more than 2,100 cholera cases, including two cholera-related deaths, in Beira, Buzi, and Dondo as of April 5. A lack of detailed reporting continues to pose difficulties to teams on the ground working to identify areas of increased transmission and appropriately target WASH interventions to prevent further spread of the disease.

Humanitarian Response and Gaps

Health agencies—led by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO)—are conducting a cholera vaccination campaign that began on April 3 and plans to reach nearly 900,000 people through fixed and mobile vaccination teams. Health teams are delivering vaccinations in Beira from April 3-7 and in Sofala’s Buzi, Dondo, and Nhamatanda districts from April 4-8. As of April 3, health teams had vaccinated approximately 32,000 people.

The GRM reports limited fuel for generators that power water systems, which distribute treated water throughout Beira, Buzi, Dondo, and Nhamatanda. Relief actors have expressed concern about the potential impact on WASH needs in the community and are closely monitoring the situation.

On April 3, a UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) team conducted a rapid assessment in Sofala’s Machanga District, which had previously been inaccessible due to floods. As Machanga is not densely populated, relief agencies noted limited impacts of the cyclone on livelihoods in the district. GRM National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) staff are traveling to Machanga to provide assistance.


On April 2, the first of five planned airlifts of USAID fortified food commodities—including corn soya blend (CSB) plus and Vitamin A and D-fortified vegetable oil—arrived in Beira from USAID’s warehouse in Djibouti. DoD provided airlift support to transport the commodities, which will provide food and nutrition assistance to an estimated 160,000 people impacted by the cyclone for one month.

USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) health and WASH technical specialists traveled to Buzi on April 4 to visit health facilities and observe the ongoing cholera vaccination campaign. The DART noted limited hygiene promotion activities accompanying the vaccinations. The team also visited a field hospital operated by Samaritan’s Purse (SP) and a 10-bed Médecins Sans Frontières cholera treatment unit, both of which were located in the Buzi Hospital. The DART noted that much of the hospital’s infrastructure was damaged by the storm, including the maternity ward, which was not operational. To supplement health care services, SP will provide emergency health assistance at its field hospital and plan to hand over operations to local staff after approximately one month.

On April 3, DART members traveled to Sofala to observe a food distribution organized by the UN World Food Program (WFP) in Nhamantanda’s Chirassacua town. WFP has been working with the INGC to identify hard-to-reach populations affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai. WFP highlighted that although transporting food via road to people in the town will become possible in the coming days, there is still standing water in some areas. From April 2–4, WFP delivered 23 metric tons (MT) of food commodities to Chirassacua. DART members accompanied the WFP team to deliver rice, beans, vitamin-fortified vegetable oil, CSB, and ready to use supplementary food to approximately 840 households.

Overall, WFP has reached 524,000 people in need of food assistance Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambézia to date. The UN agency is taking advantage of receding floodwaters to scale up assistance and plan to deliver food to 1.2 million people in the four provinces over the coming weeks.

Current Situation

On April 5, the UN launched a revised flash appeal, requesting an additional $60 million to address the humanitarian needs of approximately 270,000 people affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai. The revised plan—developed in collaboration with the Humanitarian Country Team in Zimbabwe—now requests nearly $294 million to respond to needs generated by the Cyclone, in addition to pre-existing drought conditions and economic challenges across the country. International donors had contributed nearly $5.4 million to the Tropical Cyclone Idai response in Zimbabwe as of April 5, according to the UN.

UNICEF estimates that nearly 140 schools in Zimbabwe were affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai, impacting up to 90,000 students. In addition, a USAID partner reports that the cyclone damaged or destroyed the majority of sanitation facilities in affected areas, increasing the risk of vector-borne diseases in these locations. In response, UNICEF is providing WASH supplies to vulnerable households in flood-affected areas.

In affected areas of Chipinge and Chimanimani districts, food commodity prices increased sharply in the days following the cyclone, relief agencies report. In addition, many shops were carrying less than a week’s supply of key commodities as of late March, and merchants were incurring increased transport costs due to damaged roads, according to humanitarian actors. A USAID partner also reported that the cyclone destroyed approximately 60 percent of maize crops in Chimanimani. In response to food security concerns, USAID contributed $2.5 million to WFP to provide emergency food assistance to approximately 133,200 people in the area.

USG Response and Assessments

On April 2, USAID staff in Zimbabwe participated in round table discussions with UN and non-governmental organizations (NGO) representatives to gather additional information about humanitarian conditions. Participants emphasized the need to prioritize WASH interventions in communities affected by the cyclone. UNICEF plans to conduct a full WASH systems assessment, in coordination with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) staff, in the coming weeks to determine the extent of water system damage and needs.

On the same day, the USAID representatives met with OCHA to discuss the continued support of coordination and information management related to the humanitarian response in Zimbabwe. The UN agency recently dispatched two staff members to Chipinge and Mutare towns to coordinate humanitarian response activities among Government of Zimbabwe, UN, and NGO actors.

Current Situation

Damaged roads continue to hamper humanitarian access to Chikwawa, Nsanje, and Phalombe districts, according to WFP. Chikwawa’s Mazongosa town and Nsanje’s Chigwamafumu, Chikali, and Makhanga towns remain accessible only by air or boat, inhibiting the delivery of relief items. In response, WFP is coordinating with the Government of Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs to support logistics operations in the areas.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted humanitarian assessments at more than 60 displacement sites in southern Malawi from March 26–31. IOM identified food assistance as the primary need among displaced populations, followed by a need of shelter materials. The assessed sites host nearly 76,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs).

UNICEF estimates that 70 schools across Chikwawa, Nsanje, Phalombe, and Zomba districts were affected by flooding due to Tropical Cyclone Idai, and that more than 100 additional schools are currently hosting displaced populations, preventing access to education for nearly 77,200 students. In response, relief agencies are working to provide shelter support to enable IDPs to leave the schools and allow schools to reopen.

USG Response and Assessments

Two USAID staff arrived in Malawi on April 3 to conduct a six-day assessment of the impact of flooding on humanitarian conditions. In meetings with the team, relief organizations highlighted agriculture, shelter, and WASH assistance as priority needs and noted that IDPs were sheltering in camps, schools, and churches where sanitation facilities are limited, prompting health concerns.

On April 4, USAID staff visited two displacement sites in the country’s Chikwawa District managed by local civil protection committees (CPCs). CPC staff reported that nearly 1,900 households were sheltering at one of the sites, a sugar factory near Nchalo town, with an additional 900 households sheltering at the other site, Namicheni Primary School. The team noted overcrowded WASH facilities at the Nchalo site; occupants reported that they had received some food and hygiene supplies from the Malawi Red Cross Society. At the Namicheni site, the Malawi National Health Service Agency is conducting malnutrition screenings and providing fortified cereals to IDPs, however pregnant and lactating women did not have access to any type of supplementary support. With USAID support, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provided hygiene kits to approximately 970 household at Namicheni Primary School.

The assessment team also visited an area nearby where flooding had destroyed irrigation piping, limiting approximately 2,000 households’ ability to irrigate their rice fields. The team observed agricultural land damaged by flooding. The Ministry of Agriculture and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization are assessing the extent of crop damage; although farmers are already clearing fields and replanting crops in some areas. Project Concern International reported that seeds and other agricultural inputs are available in local markets, however cash shortages among affected populations limits access to supplies.

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 08, 2019

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