Cyclone Idai originated from a tropical depression that formed off the East Coast of Mozambique, intensifying to an intense tropical cyclone with winds of up to 170km per hour (110 miles per hour) in the Mozambique Channel. On 15 March, Cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira in central Mozambique and re-emerged into the Mozambique Channel, 19 March. Idai dissipated by 21 March.
Flooding and Storm Damage
The high winds of cyclone Idai caused severe flooding in Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing hundreds of people and causing catastrophic damage. Official death tolls, so far, are: 446 in Mozambique, 259 in Zimbabwe, 56 in Malawi and at least one in Madagascar. The homes of up to three million people have been damaged.
Zambezi, Tete and Niassa provinces of Mozambique were devastated by the cyclone. Initial reports from Mozambique indicate that the floods have ruined 168,000 hectares (420,000 acres) of crops, 8 hospitals, 938 classrooms and over 5,700 homes were reported destroyed.
Malawi reported 14 districts experiencing direct effects of the storm, with Nsanje and Phalombe, being the hardest hit. Rising waters overwhelmed much infrastructure, causing dams to collapse. Approximately 1,400 homes in Blantyre were destroyed. Two Hydro Electric power plants along the Shire River suffered damage and were taken offline. This represented a loss of 270 megawatts out of Malawi’s total 320 megawatts of Hydro Electric power capacity. Malawi reported over 922,000 people nationwide affected, of whom 125,000 were displaced, or rendered homeless.
One of the Worst Cyclones to Ever Hit Africa
Cyclone Idai has been described as one of the worst tropical cyclones, on record, to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere as a whole. Its death toll is comparable to the 1892 Mauritius cyclone, the 1903 French Polynesia cyclone and the 1927 Madagascar cyclone.
Love in Action
Samaritans Purse, Missionary Aviation Fellowship, The Red Cross, The Salvation Army, MSF and other relief agencies have sprung into action to deliver clean water, food and emergency medical help to those affected by these disasters helped by the South African Air Force
Pray for Those Seeking to Serve the Suffering
Please continue to pray for all those caught up in this disaster and for those who have responded to help them. “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’… ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:34-40
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
See also: Mozambique Revisited