More than 1.5 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe have been killed or displaced after tropical cyclone Idai ripped through the three southern African countries. Authorities in Mozambique say more than 200 people are confirmed dead, but the nation’s president, Felipe Nyusi, says the death toll could rise to nearly 1000 people in Mozambique alone.
President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has declared a national emergency after the powerful cyclone devastated his country, killing more than 100 people. Bridges and roads were destroyed, more than 100 houses collapsed, and more than 70 people have been reported missing. Ongoing rescue efforts continue in Zimbabwe and throughout the hardest hit areas in Mozambique and Malawi.
“It’s very rare that a cyclone of this magnitude occurred in this part of the world and caused so much mayhem,” said Mario de Oliveira, emergency management director for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). “A lot of our efforts right now are devoted to getting food, shelter, and clean water for the people most affected in the Chimanmani and Chipinge districts. It’s been difficult, as there are numerous road blocks to get to people, and electricity has been down, cutting off access to communication.”
ADRA has been on the ground since the aftermath in Zimbabwe helping up to 650 households with food and hygiene kits with plans to provide further assistance in hardest hit areas. ADRA has also been helping people in Mozambique and Malawi previously recover from heavy floods affecting thousands of people prior to the cyclone’s landfall.
On March 18, ADRA deployed 1000 shelter kits and 2000 tarps to help the population in Beira, Mozambique, with the assistance of a UN flight convoy, Oliveira added.
“We are also in the process of deploying emergency kits to Malawi from our depots in Nairobi,” he said.
Although the cyclone has passed, heavy rains continue to cause a rise in flood waters. Among those affected are students, where more than 200 classrooms have reportedly been destroyed in four provinces in Mozambique.
ADRA is now working with local authorities, humanitarian organisations, and local Adventist churches in order to avoid duplication of aid relief and mobilise additional resources in Zimbabwe.
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