Mozambique has shouldered the brunt of the damage. The night of 14 March, Idai struck the country with windspeeds of over 170 km/h, destroying the coastal village of Beira. The town of half a million inhabitants is now 90% under water. Many areas are still without electricity. Due to limited communication and the destruction of transportation infrastructure, it is difficult for humanitarian teams to reach the survivors. The scale of this catastrophe is still a challenge to accurately estimate.
Teams from Caritas Mozambique are currently on route to Beira with 1,500 tent canvases. “There is a lack of food, water, and shelter. It is still difficult to get news from Beira, as communication networks are down,” reports Antonio Anosso, a humanitarian worker at Caritas Mozambique. “Our priority is to save lives, shelter the survivors, and make note of the affected groups. We are in urgent need of food, corrugated roofing sheets, water, sanitation facilities, shelters, and seeds.”
There is massive devastation across Southern Africa, following cyclone #idai. Our @CAFOD partners shared this video from #Beira #Mozambique via @iamCARITAS. pic.twitter.com/I2BDQOs9KI
— Michael Stulman (@MichaelStulman) 19 mars 2019
The cyclone then followed a devastating path towards the neighboring countries of Zimbabwe and Malawi, which were also hit hard. Even before Idai struck, the region was battling extreme weather conditions and violent storms. Heavy rainfall is still expected in the coming days. Tens of thousands of people have had to leave their homes as entire villages and towns have been destroyed. As they flee, many survivors have had to take refuge on rooftops or in trees to escape flooding.
The worst disaster in decades
Caritas Mozambique warns that Cyclone Idai could have the most devastating consequences in decades. Currently, the local Caritas offices present in affected areas are working to implement the first emergency response protocols. They are helping those who have lost their homes evacuate to government housing, churches, and parish buildings.
Local Caritas offices also remain with victims in Zimbabwe and Malawi. They are currently assessing needs and are collecting essential items. Local volunteers are also mobilizing and are ready to help on the spot.
Your assistance is vital. Make a donation in support of Idai victims online, or by using bank number BE 88 0000 0000 4141 and mentioning ‘Idai’.