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Cyclone Idai hits Zimbambe, causing flash flooding, death and destruction of livelihoods

17 Mar 2019


Chipinge, Zimbabwe. Credit: Goal

After making landfall near Beira City, Sofala Province, in central Mozambique, during the night of 14 to 15 March, Cyclone Idai hit eastern Zimbabwe with heavy rains and strong winds. The storm caused high winds and heavy precipitation in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts causing riverine and flash flooding and subsequent deaths, destruction of livelihoods and properties.

At least 31 deaths have been reportedand over 100 people aremissing, according to preliminary information. The death toll may rise in the days ahead as further information regarding the storm’s impact becomes available. At least 1,600 households (8,000 to 9,600 people) have been affected in Chimanimani, Chipinge, Nyanga and Mutare districts, Manicaland Province, as a result of flooding and landslides, according to initial information.

Based on census data, 48 per cent of those affected are estimated to be children and 52 per cent are estimated to be women. In Tongogara Refugee Camp, nearly 300 people have been affected, with 49 houses damaged.Considerable damageto properties, livelihoods and infrastructure has also been reportedin the districts in the storm’s path.

Response to date

In Mozambique, ahead of Cylone FoIdai’s landfall, the government established six on-site emergency operations and coordination teams, pre-positioned in six strategic locations (Vilankulos, Caia, Beira, Chimoio, Tete and Quelimane). The main coordination team moved by road from Caia to Beira on 15 March, led by the General Director of INGC and including members from the National Unit for Civil Protection (UNAPROC), focal points from the met-service, health, education, road and bridge authorities, river management authorities, energy sector, agriculture, shelter and water and sanitation sectors, as well as humanitarian partners. An inter-agency mission left from Maputo on 16 March to support the team on the ground. A self-sufficient IPSS medical team has also deployed from South Africa.

In Zimbabwe, the Government-led response is being coordinated by the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) through the National, Provincial and District Civil Protection Committees, with support from humanitarian partners. A sub-national flood command centre has been set up to facilitatereal-time coordination of the response and Civil Protection Committees are conducting rapid needsassessments in the affected areas. The military is supporting search and rescue operations as well as evacuation of at-risk communities. However, access and logistics are challenging due to the prevailing weather conditions. Mass flood awareness campaigns are ongoing through various media platforms and SMS.

More on the ongoing response here.