Cyclone Idai: Africa Mourning

Survivors clinging on rooftops in Buzi, Mozambique in the aftermath of the cyclone

Cyclone Idai. It has left as many as 700 people dead in Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe and over a thousand others still missing, and thousands more displaced with no basic needs. Families are still holding on to some hope that rescue workers are going to find their missing relatives. Friends have been separated.

The mortuary at the central hospital in Beira “is full and dozens of bodies need to be removed and handled in a dignified way,” according to IFRC. Beira is still flooded, which makes it impossible to bury bodies, IFRC said.

About 1.7 million people have been affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, according to UNICEF.

And now we have worrying cases of cholera outbreak that is most likely to increase the death toll, especially now that the countries are overwhelmed by the destruction left by the cyclone.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said that the destruction left by the cyclone is “worse than we imagined” and warned that the humanitarian needs “will tragically only deepen in the coming weeks.”

In a statement, IFRC said that flooding creates ideal conditions for disease outbreaks.

“Already, some cholera cases have been reported in Beira along with an increasing number of malaria infections among people trapped by the flooding,” read the statement.

Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai is regarded as one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere as a whole. The storm has caused catastrophic damage in multiple nations, leaving more than 600 people dead and hundreds more missing. Its death toll is more likely to supersede that of the 1892 Mauritius cyclone, the 1903 French Polynesia cyclone, the 1927 Madagascar cyclone, and Cyclone Leon–Eline in 2000.

Idai originated from a tropical depression that formed off the eastern coast of Mozambique on 4 March. The depression made landfall in the three most hit countries later in the day and remained a tropical cyclone throughout the entirety of its trek over land. On 9 March, the depression re-emerged into the Mozambique Channel and was upgraded into Moderate Tropical Storm Idai next day.

It wasn’t the strongest storm to have hit Mozambique, but the region had recently been deluged by heavy rains. After lingering off the coast for days, gathering strength, Idai finally dumped a huge amount of water on Beira — a city of 500,000 people — destroying “90%” of the area, according to aid agencies.

Floods left by the cyclone in Beira, Mozambique

Flooding was so extreme in Buzi, central Mozambique, that the water could be seen in satellite images from outer space.

Catastrophic damage occurred in and around Beira in southern Mozambique. The President of Mozambique stated that more than 1,000 people may have died in the storm. A major humanitarian crisis unfolded in the wake of the cyclone, with hundreds of thousands of people in urgent need of assistance across Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In the former nation, rescuers were forced to let people die in order to save others.

The African continent and the world is mourning. Let’s stand together with the affected countries and help survivors because they need us if they are going to get through this catastrophe.


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