In March 2019, the Cyclone Idai weather system brought destruction and damage to Inhambane, Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia provinces. The weather system’s impact was particularly devastating as it came in three waves: in early March, the low-pressure system caused flooding in Zambezia and Tete, displacing more than 140,000 people; on 14 March, Cyclone Idai made landfall near the port City of Beira – home to 500,000 people -leaving death and destruction in its wake; and finally, over the weekend of 16-17 March, the weather system carried torrential rains across multiple areas, causing rivers to overflow and a dam in Buzi district to burst, sweeping away entire communities and leaving an unknown number of people stranded. As a result of the triple effect of the impact of Cyclone Idai and subsequent flooding, an estimated 1.85 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.
As of 2 April, the official death toll had risen to 598 people, an increase of 80 since 1 April; with more than 1,600 people injured, according to the Government. The death toll is expected to continue to rise as areas previously cut-off become reachable by road and the full extent of the damage becomes known.
Nearly 112,000 houses have been identified by the authorities as totally destroyed (62,153), partially destroyed (34,139) or flooded (15,784), leaving more than 131,000 people displaced in 136 sites across Sofala (109,199 people), Manica (14,047 people), Zambezia (5,235 people) and Tete (2,655 people) as of 2 April. There has been a significant decrease in the number of displacement sites in Zambezia province, from 13 to 3, as people begin to return home. Protection partners estimate that more than half of the affected people are children and the Government has registered more than 7,400 vulnerable people at the accommodation sites.
More than 715,000 hectares of crops have been destroyed to date, raising concerns over food security, as the destruction occurred during the annual main harvest for the central region. Many people interviewed in collective sites by IOM have reported that, in addition to damaged or destroyed houses, lack of food and absence of livelihoods are among the primary concerns preventing people from returning.
The humanitarian situation is compounded by a rising incidence of water-borne and vector-borne diseases in the affected districts. On 27 March, the Ministry of Health (MoH) declared a cholera outbreak in Beira. As of 2 April, some 1,428 cases of cholera and two deaths had been reported in Beira (1,218 cases; 1 death), Dondo (66 cases; 1 death) and Nhamatanda (144 cases), according to the Ministry of Health. Of these, 376 cases were reported in the last 24 hours.
Health partners have also reported malaria cases in many affected areas.
This Situation Report provides initial estimates of the humanitarian impact of the Cyclone Idai weather system based on population estimates and rapid assessments. Sector-specific needs and requirements will continue to be updated to reflect new data from on-going sector assessments and further analysis.