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Cyclone Idai in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe

People's lives are in danger in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in the wake of deadly Cyclone Idai.

The cyclone hit landfall on the night of 14-15 March causing extensive damage in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique. Homes and farmland are completely wiped out in some areas. More than a thousand people are feared dead, thousands more are missing and millions have been left without food or basic services.

A huge humanitarian aid response is needed to help vulnerable families, especially women and  children  who  make  up  the  majority  of  those affected. Oxfam's initial aim - with  other international and local NGO partners - is to reach up to 500,000 people in the three countries - hopefully more - with clean water, toilet and handwashing facilities, food, shelter and other essentials.  

You can help us to get vital aid to the areas affected and save lives.

Please donate to our Cyclone Idai response now.

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Last updated: 11/04/19


Nomatter Ncube and her kids sit beside their washed away family home following Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani district, Zimbabwe.

Philimon Bulawayo/REUTERS

What Oxfam is doing

  • Oxfam will work in the three affected countries - Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe - aiming to reach a quarter of those in need in areas hit by Cyclone Idai 
  • We'll make sure emergency infrastructure is set up to get people access to clean water, toilets and handwashing facilities as well as emergency shelter and food
  • We'll work with local partners and government departments on the ground


Heavy rains since 6th March 2019 from Cyclone Idai In Malawi have caused massive flooding, mainly across the southern part of the country. More than 14 districts have been impacted, well over half a million people are affected. 60 people are dead, 672 injured and more than 86,900 displaced according to the Government.   

Harvest in these areas is at the end of March and the floods have destroyed that harvest, leaving people without the food it would have provided. The President of Malawi declared a state of emergency and has appealed for international aid.

Due to the heavy rains, many houses have collapsed, and affected people are seeking shelter in schools - affecting learning. Churches and other camps are also being used as shelters. Farmland and animals have been washed away. There's a critical need for food, water, shelter, toilets and hand-washing facilities. There's also a risk of water borne diseases.

The numbers of people affected is likely to increase as the rainfall continues and more houses are likely to collapse. Drones and boats have been deployed to assist with search and rescue.

The President has also directed the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) to quickly move in and assist those trapped and displaced by the floods and the heavy rains. One of the major issues in this crisis is access to the affected areas. Some of the communities are only accessible by boats, flying is limited due to the bad weather that is sometimes characterised by thick fog and mist. 

The floods have affected infrastructure with roads and bridges damaged and two hydroelectric power plants also damaged due to the floods.  Helicopters and boats are being used to deliver aid.

Many people travelled in canoes across flood waters to reach safety. More than 9,000 displaced people now in the Nsanje District have received hygiene kits containing essential items such as buckets and soap from Oxfam.


Maria Nazombe say they have no home, they have no food and behind is a house they would like to rebuild but they do not have plastic sheets and grass to finish it.

Tavwana Chirwa / Oxfam


Even before Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, at least 120,000 people were affected by the floods. Two provinces reported heavy rains by 10th of March 2019 that progressed into a cyclone. The major affected areas reported to date include Sofala, Zambezia, Tete and Niassa. 

According to UN figures, more than 239,000 houses have been totally destroyed, partially destroyed or flooded and 1.85 million people are affected.

The death toll stands at 847 and the fight against cholera is the number one priority as cholera cases continue to rise.

A vaccination programme has reached more than half the target 900,000 people. The true extent of the crisis is still unfolding.

Oxfam and partners have been the first to reach some communities in areas that have received no help until now.
The Government authorities are leading the response and have pledged US$ 40 Million.

The government together with partners is providing humanitarian assistance to the affected population.

Oxfam is targeting 500,000 affected people - over a quarter of the 1.85 million affected. Of those, 128,000 are displaced and staying in around 140 sites. We aim to provide people with clean water, toilet facilities and food.

So far, Oxfam has trained 191 community 'activistas' to promote health information in communities. We have reached more than 10,000 people with safe clean water, built 58 toilets with more on the way and done water quality testing. We have also reached more than 37,000 people as part of a coalition and with a local partner with family kits and hygiene kits for women. On top of this, water purification has reached more than 32,000 people. 

The heavy rains have destroyed roads in Zambézia and Beira province, limiting access and movement of people, food, and services. The water supply system in Chingodzi (Tete) and Beira has been damaged compromising access to safe water for communities. A total of 83,318 hectares of crops are now flooded affecting 54,853 farmers.

In Zambezia and Beira provines an estimated 550,000 people in the coastal region will be affected.

In Manica Province: 2,501 collapsed houses, 96 classrooms, 6 hospitals, 4 bridges and others not specified as of 18 March 2019. A total of 2,542 families have been affected and in temporary accommodation, this equals a total of 12,018 individuals.


In Zimbabwe, over 180 deaths have been recorded so far and 330 people are missing, mainly in the hardest-hit district of Chimanimani. More than 21,000 people have been displaced. These figures are expected to rise in the days ahead as the full extent of the damage and loss of life becomes known.
Chimanimani remains hard to access, as do several other places. Heavy rains have damaged roads and main access bridges have been washed away. Water supply stations have been affected. Crops and livestock have been destroyed in all affected areas, which were already facing rising food insecurity.

The displacement of people, together with damaged water supply infrastructure, heightens the risk of malaria, cholera and other diarrheal diseases and the potential for a communicable disease outbreak. Government and operational partners are closely monitoring.

Meanwhile, damage to the port in Beira and its access roads in neighbouring Mozambique may affect fuel and food supplies to Zimbabwe, as well as livelihoods of people in eastern Zimbabwe that rely heavily on the Zimbabwe/Mozambique trading corridor.

Overall, a quarter of a million people are estimated to be affected. Oxfam is targeting a quarter of those people and has deployed staff to the affected areas of Chimanimani and Chipinge.


A man looks at a washed away bridge along Umvumvu river following Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe.

Philimon Bulawayo/REUTERS

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