LOOK: MSF assists countries ravaged by Cyclone Idai

The scale of destruction wreaked by Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe is only now starting to emerge as aid organisations share their assessments of the situation on the ground.

On Tuesday President Filipe Nyusi called the situation "a real disaster of great proportions" during an interview with Radio Mozambique and estimated that up to 1 000 people may have lost their lives to the cyclone. The official death toll at the moment is 84 but with communications down, and most of Beira in ruins, the true scale of the catastrophe may take days to confirm.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has staff in all three countries and have provided the following update on the interventions they are involved in: 
Mozambique2cyclone - LOOK: MSF assists countries ravaged by Cyclone Idai
Picture supplied by MSF’s Mozambique team
  • Tropical cyclone Idai which hit the coastal town of Beira with winds of up to 200kms an hour and heavy rain on 14 March has wreaked extreme devastation along the central coastline of Sofala, Zambézia and Inhambane provinces.
  • Ninety percent of the area around Beira has been destroyed, main roads leading into Beira have been cut off, buildings have been submerged and severely damaged and all business has been shut down.
  • There is no power in Beira and surrounding areas, and nearly all communication lines have been destroyed, which is making assessment of the human toll and scale of disaster extremely difficult. 
  • Beira hospital has sustained severe damage to its operating theatre and several of the wards, and all 17 health centres have lost their roofs with additional damage.
  • To date, 84 deaths and at least 1 500 injured have been reported between Beira, Dondo and Chimoio cities; however, a state broadcast earlier today confirms the situation may be even more serious with 1 000 dead.
  • MSF’s medical activities in Beira hospital, health centres and community have ceased completely. After several worrying days, we are very happy to report that all MSF staff have been accounted for, despite a few injuries reported. The majority sustained severe damages to their homes. 
  • Following an early assessment today, an MSF emergency team arrives in Beira tomorrow to conduct a wider assessment on the extent of the damage and needs. 
  • MSF’s main concern is to ensure continuity of care and referrals at the health centres, while we anticipate that water and hygiene needs will remain high in the coming days.

Video supplied by MSF’s Zimbabwe team

  • Cyclone Idai hit Chimanimani, a small district of approximately 30 000 people in Manicaland province late Friday 15 March, after passing through Mozambique.
  • Several roads leading into Chimanimani have been cut off; the only access into the area is by helicopter
  • Airlifts were intended to take place to a nearby stabilisation centre but efforts are being hampered by difficult conditions. 
  • An MSF team has been trying to access Chimanimani with supplies and medical materials, but is unable to access the district due to destroyed bridges and is now providing services at a stabilisation centre approximately 20 kilometres from Chimanimani.
  • MSF is focussing on supporting stabilisation centres outside Chimanimani with medical supplies and water and sanitation support.
Malawi4cyclone - LOOK: MSF assists countries ravaged by Cyclone Idai
Picture supplied by MSF’s Malawi team
  • Extremely heavy rains in lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje, compounded by further rains from last week’s Cyclone Idai has caused severe flooding including in 14 of Nsanje’s 28 districts.
  • Official figures confirm 56 deaths, 577 injured and 3 missing
  • Rivers have broken their banks leaving many houses fully submerged and around 11,000 households displaced in Nsanje. 
  • An MSF emergency intervention has been launched with a focus on Makhanga area in the worst affected East Bank of Nsanje, which is only accessible by boat or helicopter.
  • MSF is also supporting Makhanga health centre with supplies, cleaning, human resources, along with strengthened surveillance and referral systems, along with outreach clinics and health promotion activities in the evacuation centres.
  • Water and sanitation activities and distributions of non-food item kits are being planned to affected households. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *