Skip to main content
Cyclone Idai survivor Esther at her flooded house in Mozambique

Cyclone Idai Emergency

Cyclone Idai Emergency

Donate now

Oxfam responding to the deadly Cyclone Idai Emergency

6 MAR 2019

Cyclone Idai hits southern Africa

Cyclone Idai has devastated the lives of more than 2.6 million people across southern Africa where heavy rains, which began on 6th March, have caused massive flooding across the region, destroying people’s homes and washing away their livestock and crops.

Oxfam responded with plans to reach up to half a million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe over the first three months. Oxfam and partners will truck in clean water and distribute water treatment and hygiene kits that contain items such as buckets, soaps, jerry cans and menstrual hygiene kits to prevent and contain cholera and other waterborne diseases.

UPDATE 29 APRIL: Three days after Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in the north of Mozambique, the death toll continues to rise. It is rare for cyclones to hit the northern end of the country, so people were not prepared. It is an especially rare weather event for two cyclones to hit Mozambique just six weeks apart. Rescue missions are underway for people facing landslides and flash flooding. This comes as authorities and agencies were still struggling to assist people in hard-to-reach areas following Cyclone Idai.

UPDATE 26 APRIL: Oxfam and partners are preparing to respond as Cyclone Kenneth makes landfall today in Mozambique. There are reports it will be one of the largest cyclones to ever hit the country. This comes as millions of people are still reeling from the devastating impacts of Cyclone Idai.

13-14 APRIL 2019

Cyclone Idai: One month on

One month on, thousands in Mozambique are still cut off from any help and are struggling to survive.

– “Like a war zone” says Oxfam, as destruction and suffering are still not fully mapped
– Despite initial appeals, international aid efforts are still grossly underfunded
– Aid agencies are already fully stretched and running out of resources

Oxfam and our local partner organisations in Mozambique are still finding thousands of people isolated and cut off from aid and resources.

Only a few days ago, with international and local partners, Oxfam embarked on a 24-hour journey via car, motorbike and canoe into isolated communities in the north of Beira, Mozambique. The team found some 2,000 people in Gentivo in desperate need, with an estimated 4,000 more remaining without access. Up to that point, the community had had no contact with outside help and were surviving off dates, coconuts and a few small fish they could catch.

Dorothy Sang, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Advocacy Manager, said that Oxfam and other international agencies are now planning an air drop of living-saving supplies into Gentivo.

“The tragedy is that Gentivo is not an anomaly, we know there are many more people still out there cutt off from help,” said Ms Sang. “They risk becoming utterly forgotten.”

Oxfam and our local partners in Mozambique have so far reached more than 50,000 people with clean water, emergency supplies and health and sanitation services to help stop the spread of cholera. There have been more than 4,000 recorded cases of cholera to date.


Stories from the ground: Madalema

Oxfam met Madalema at one of the transition centres in Guara Guara.

She is a single parent of two children. Her husband died six years ago and she is the sole provider for her family. She is from Buzi town and travelled to the centre looking for help when her home was destroyed. Buzi district is one of the hard to reach areas.

“We spent three days in the water.”

She and her family ran for safety on higher ground when the cyclone hit, but they returned afterwards to see what they could salvage from their home. That’s when the floods came. She and her children became trapped.

“We went back to see what we could save from our house. We could save nothing. We had to climb on the roof. I had each child in my arms, trying to save them.”

The family spent three days without food. She and her family were rescued by local community members in a canoe and she was taken to hospital for treatment.

“I have no family, no husband to look after us. We need a place to stay. I’ve got nothing now. There is nothing left.”

Madelema in Mozambique Photo: Micas Mondlane / Oxfam Novib
Photo: Micas Mondlane/Oxfam Novib

Stories from the ground: Maria

Cyclone Idai survivor Maria lost everything when Cyclone Idai hit.

“Everything is full of water where we lived. People and children died because of the water. Women died of hunger. Goats, ducks, cooking pots, food…everything went. We didn’t manage to save anything.”

“My sister lives in Nhanjera. I don’t know if she saved herself, if she died. I don’t know. I have family in Mutarare, I also don’t know if they live or if they died. Others are in Nhampoca, and I don’t know if they’re dead. When I try to call it says ‘try again later’.”

Cyclone Idai survivor Maria from Mozambique lost everything
Photo: Tina Kruger/Oxfam Novib

Donate now