Aerial view of flooding caused by Cyclone Idai

An aerial view of the extensive damage done by Cyclone Idai to the city of Beira, Mozambique in March 2019. ©UNHCR/Alissa Everett

UNHCR delivers emergency aid to help survivors rebuild

  • More than 200,00 people displaced
  • 3 million people in the region were affecteed
  • 3,500 cases of cholera identified in Mozambique
  • Approximately 6,000 refugees affected in the Tongogara refugee camp in Zimbabwe


On March 14, 2019, Cyclone Idai’s landfall in Mozambique wreaked havoc with strong winds and flood waters covering more than 3,000 square kilometres. This was the largest tropical cyclone to hit Africa. Just six weeks later, survivors of the first cyclone faced a new set of challenges when Cyclone Kenneth began approaching Mozambique’s coastline. This was the first time in recorded history when two consecutive cyclones struck the region. Tens of thousands of people lost their homes and livelihoods when torrential rains and flooding swept across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. One of the areas that was severely affected was Tongogara refugee camp in Zimbabwe, home to more than 19,000 refugees, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. Thanks to the quick response of generous donors, UNHCR was able to send four emergency airlifts containing lifesaving emergency aid for more than 65,000 of the most vulnerable people.

A family poses with solar lanterns

A family displaced by Cyclone Idai take UNHCR solar lanterns back to their tents in Picoco camp, Beira, Mozambique in April 2019. ©UNHCR/Alissa Everett

An infographic explaining the following facts: In Malawi, there has been 59 lives lost, 870,000 people affected, and 130 square kilometres of crops lost; in Zimbabwe there has been 300 lives lost, 270,000 people affected and 1,060 shelters and sanitary infrastructure destroyed in the Tongogara refugee camp; in Mozambique there have been 600 lives lost, 160,000 people affected, 6,700 square kilometres of crops lost. The infographic also answers the question: What impact did UNHCR donors have? Stating that, thanks to the generosity of donors, UNHCR was able to send four emergency airlifts with lifesaving assistance for more than 65,000 of the most vulnerable people. The air lifts carried: 1,165 family tents, 41,500 mats, 17,600 mosquito nets, 7,092 kitchen sets, 9,080 buckets, 3,000 plastic tarps, 41,1418 blankets, 4,800 solar lanterns, 11,600 water drums.



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