On March 15th, Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall in south-eastern Africa, killed over 1000 people and caused immense damage in Mozambique, and to a lesser degree in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Madagascar. It was the worst natural disaster to hit southern Africa in two decades, and the third-deadliest tropical cyclone on record.
In Mozambique alone, the cyclone caused some 770 million dollars in damages and displaced around 400,000 people. The 200 kilometer winds and massive flooding damaged or destroyed homes, schools, farmland and crucial infrastructure, particularly in Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambézia provinces.
In addition to the immediate needs of the people, such as shelter, food, medicines and potable water, within days, cholera and other water borne diseases, skin infections, respiratory tract infections and malaria began to spread throughout the affected parts of Mozambique. And this situation continues to worsen with time.
In the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, the United States stepped up to deliver emergency aid and help in Mozambique’s recovery effort. On March 15th, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Dennis Hearne declared a disaster due to the effects of floods in Mozambique.
On March 20, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART, to Mozambique. This elite team assesses damage, identifies priority needs, and works closely with partners to provide critical assistance to people in Mozambique.
One week later, at the request of USAID, the U.S. military — in coordination with the Government of Mozambique — began air operations to deliver humanitarian assistance to communities affected by Cyclone Idai, particularly hard-to-reach areas.
Since then, USAID has been working with our partners to deliver lifesaving aid to those most in need. This includes partnering with the World Food Program to provide food to more than 1 million people and World Vision to provide emergency shelter, as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. USAID is also working with the International Organization for Migration to provide shelter kits to those most in need.
To date, the United States has provided 59 million dollars to help people affected by the cyclone recover from this disaster.
“We stand with the Mozambican people during this time,” said USAID Administrator Mark Green, “and USAID will continue to support those in need here and around the world.”