Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

UNICEF/Juskauskas Aerial view of Tengani, Nsanje, Malawi, affected by floods due to the incessant rains from March 5 to March 9 2019.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


A major aid operation is under way in Mozambique and Malawi to help victims of Tropical Cyclone Idai, which has reached the densely-populated Mozambican port city of Beira, after registering maximum wind speeds of nearly 200 kilometres per hour, UN agencies said on Friday.

Exceptional rainfall before the cyclone hit, has already affected a total of 1.5 million people in both Southern African countries and claimed more than 120 lives. The cyclone has now reportedly moved west, towards Zimbabwe.

In addition, tens of thousands of people have been displaced and homes, roads, bridges and crops have been washed away, World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson, Hervé Verhoosel, told journalists in Geneva.

“Tropical Cyclone Idai…has compounded destructive flooding that has already occurred as far inland as southern Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe,” he said. “The World Food Programme has been stepping up preparations to meet large-scale assistance needs.”

The UN agency has already begun to assess the extent of the flood damage and prioritise needs among the most vulnerable, Mr. Verhoosel added.

It is not yet clear how many people have lost their lives since the storm hit, although on 13 March, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that flooding had killed at least 122 people in Mozambique, where 66 are reported to have died, and Malawi, where the death-toll stands at 56.

In a statement issued on Friday, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he was “deeply saddened by the loss of life, destruction of property and displacement of people due to the heavy rains and flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai.” He extended condolences to the families of the victims.

“The United Nations expresses its solidarity with the Mozambique authorities and stands ready to work with them as they respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from this natural disaster,” he added.

Casualty figures ‘changing constantly’

“We know already that some people sadly died in the past week and probably during the night,” Mr. Verhoosel said. “We don’t have any numbers to communicate for the moment as that number is changing constantly.”

Satellite imagery shows that Malawi’s Chikwawa district has been particularly badly affected by flooding, while Mozambique’s Zambezia and Tete provinces have also seen tens-of-thousands displaced and more than 168,000 hectares of crops reportedly affected.

“We expect that some of the zone will have difficult or no access at all,” Mr. Verhoosel said, noting that rising water levels on the Zambezi river will affect the many villages and small cities that line its banks and which rely on it for trade and transport.

In Mozambique, help for people displaced by the flooding is being provided in 10 transit centres in Zambezia and two in Tete.

A first round of needs assessments has been completed, but crucial follow-up visits have hampered by fallen powerlines, overloaded mobile phone networks and the fact that airspace is closed over Mozambique because of the weather conditions.

In addition to helicopters already sent by the South African Government, WFP is sending at least one MI-8 transport helicopter to conduct emergency air operations in Mozambique.

Its objective is to focus on remote locations that are likely to be cut off by floodwater “as soon as conditions allow, and air space is open”, Mr. Verhoosel said.

Multiple dangers remain

World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Christian Lindmeier cautioned that multiple dangers remain.

“Following the flooding which is coming with the rains, you have of course the risk of drowning and victims there, but you have also crush and trauma injuries through the flooding,” he said. “This is typically followed later by waterborne diseases and rise of airborne disease like malaria could also be expected.”

Mr. Lindmeier added that there could be longer-term effects caused by damage to health facilities – “simple scenarios like assistance to pregnant women or deliveries, assistance to diabetes patients”, he said.

Before Cyclone Idai hit, OCHA cited expert predictions that could be the strongest cyclone to make landfall in Mozambique since Tropical Cyclone Eline, which struck Mozambique in February 2000.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How smart farming is helping Brazil feed the world

4 steps towards wiping out cervical cancer

This surgeon runs a makeshift hospital for over 200,000 people

2030 development agenda: Major breakthrough for world of work

Will Brexit shatter the EU or is it still too early to predict?

Why the World Cup is a bit like international trade

Brexit: UK to suffer from EU’s uncompromising stance

Youth and Participation: are the people rising up in Spain? 


EU legislation protecting home buyers approved in Parliament

A new European banking space is born this year

Imaginary Journeys Into Eternal China

Devastating storms like Hurricane Florence ‘unusual this far north’: UN weather agency

‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

What does reimagining our energy system look like?

Eurozone again whipped by Greek winds

JADE @ European Business Summit 2014: Youth Unemployment – a drive to Entrepreneurship

Which countries get the most sleep – and how much do we really need?

Cameron’s “No Brexit” campaign wins top business support as Tory front breaks

Why Europe is more competitive than the US

MEPs Anti-fraud votes for more votes?

Bertelsmann Stiftung @ European Business Summit 2014: Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TTIP) needs balanced approach

The EU can afford to invest trillions in support of employment

UN political chief calls for dialogue to ease tensions in Venezuela; Security Council divided over path to end crisis

Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May at last week’s EU Council. Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte

EU leaders open “Phase Two” of Brexit talks and warn Theresa May of tougher times

Why CFOs need to rethink what it means to create value

An ageing workforce isn’t a burden. It’s an opportunity

5G will redefine entire business models. Here’s how

Forests ‘essential’ for the future, UN agriculture chief spells out in new report

Legal Manager – 2050

4 key steps towards a circular economy

We can build an inclusive workplace, and it starts with empathy

Climate change will force us to redefine economic growth

Crimean crisis: not enough to slow down European indices

vSudan: UN chief calls for ‘positive momentum’ as civilian rule talks stall between military and opposition

3 charts to help you understand the American shale boom

FROM THE FIELD: One teen’s journey from refugee camp to US school principal

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: Made in Europe – Made of Regions

EP Group leaders on Brexit: “the agreement is not open to renegotiation”

Diversity training doesn’t change people’s behaviour. We need to find out what does

Tackling the toxic norms that hold women back in Asia

Here are three ways blockchain can change refugees’ lives

This AI-powered app aims to help people with autism improve their social skills

UN lauds special chemistry of the periodic table, kicking off 150th anniversary celebrations

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile has power to tame transaction fees – PayPal CEO

EU Justice Scoreboard 2019: results show the continuing need to protect judicial independence

Europe is now practically divided as in the Cold War

Five years down the drain

The first new university in the UK for 40 years is taking a very different approach to education

Mood changes in Europe in favour of growth and jobs

Parliament toughens its position on banking union

A Sting Exclusive: “EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan – Laying down the foundations for a Greener Financial System”, by European Commission’s Vice-President Dombrovskis

Copyright: MEPs back provisional agreement

This robot has soft hands. It could be the future of sustainable production

Climate change recognized as ‘threat multiplier’, UN Security Council debates its impact on peace

Distributed ownership: what it means and how it could transform India

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

European welfare states are failing young people

New Zealand has unveiled its first ‘well-being’ budget

Why city residents should have a say in what their cities look like

European creativity and digital economy are drowning in a copyright swamp

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s