From the Field

2019 Cyclone Idai: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

Flooding in Southern Africa has affected nearly 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe since rains began in early March and Cyclone Idai struck March 14 and 15. The death toll exceeds 843 people and many more are missing.

Idai is the strongest cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere. The U.N. children’s agency estimates that 1.5 million children are affected.

As flood waters recede, survivors are struggling to obtain food, clean water, and shelter.

Help people affected by Cyclone Idai.

Cyclone Idai and Southeast African floods timeline

March 3 – The tropical disturbance that would become Cyclone Idai develops and begins to strengthen near the coast of Africa.

March 5 – Heavy rains cause severe flooding across Mozambique and Malawi.

March 11 – Now a tropical depression, the storm builds in intensity between coastal Africa and Madagascar.

March 14 to 15 – Tropical Cyclone Idai makes landfall near Beira, Mozambique, as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds exceeding 105 mph.

March 20 – Heavy rains continue along with search and rescue operations and damage assessments.

March 21 to 27 – Governments and humanitarian aid agencies begin responding with life-saving relief supplies to the affected areas.

March 28 – The Mozambique government calls off the search for survivors of Cyclone Idai.

April 2Cholera cases in Mozambique top 1,400, according to health officials.

FAQs: What you need to know about Cyclone Idai

Find answers to frequently asked questions about Cyclone Idai and flooding in Southeast Africa, including how you can help people affected by this disaster.

Where did Cyclone Idai develop?

Cyclone Idai developed in the Mozambique channel between Mozambique and Madagascar. Often, storms that develop there don’t strengthen as much as those that form north and east of Madagascar, but Cyclone Idai was fed by warm water temperatures.


Where and when did Cyclone Idai make landfall?

Starting on the evening of March 14, Cyclone Idai made landfall in Beira, Mozambique, a coastal city of half a million people. The fierce storm pummeled Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe with strong winds and rains.


How much damage did Cyclone Idai cause?

The storm wiped out roads, bridges, and dams as it swept through Southeast Africa. The United Nations estimated that Cyclone Idai and subsequent flooding destroyed more than $1 billion of infrastructure. More than 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, along with at least 1 million acres of crops.


What is Cyclone Idai’s death toll?

The death toll has risen to 843, however, hundreds of people are still missing.


What’s the difference between a hurricane, typhoon, and cyclone?

Hurricanes form in the Atlantic and Caribbean, cyclones in the Indian Ocean, and typhoons in the Asia-Pacific region. Scientifically, they are all known as tropical cyclones.


How have people been affected by cyclone and flooding?

Hundreds of thousands are homeless and displaced. Many people have lost family members and friends and seen their communities devastated. Cases of cholera, malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections are increasing due to poor living conditions. In Mozambique alone, health providers have confirmed more than 1,400 new cases of cholera since the cyclone hit.


How can I help people affected by Cyclone Idai?

  • Pray for people who are in need and the aid workers who are bringing relief.
  • Give to World Vision’s Cyclone Idai relief fund.


What is World Vision doing to help people affected by the cyclone and flooding?

World Vision is mounting a disaster response in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, where we already have operated for years.

Our initial focus is on food and nutrition, water and sanitation, household goods and shelter assistance, health, child protection, and education.

Aid is reaching people in need, and more is on the way:

  • Mozambique – Food, water, shelter items, and household goods are being distributed. Children are enjoying play activities in two World Vision Child-Friendly Spaces.
  • Malawi – Food, children’s clothing, and household items are being distributed. More than 90,000 people are benefiting from shelter materials. Nine hospitals received water treatment chemicals. One Child-Friendly Space has been set up where 300 children can play safely and recover.
  • Zimbabwe — Food, household items, and hygiene supplies are being distributed.


Disaster Relief

View All Stories
World Vision staff work to install water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure before the first Syrian refugees arrive at Azraq Camp in Jordan.
From the Field

How’d they do that: Clean water in emergencies

The border crossing at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge from Venezuela into Colombia teems with new arrivals. The Venezuela economic and migration crisis grew throughout 2018. Hyperinflation, political instability, and food and medicine shortages have caused 3 million people to leave Venezuela since 2015.
From the Field

Venezuela crisis: Facts, FAQs, and how to help


View All Stories
In Zambia, 7-year-old sponsored child Steven no longer suffers from malaria now that his family has mosquito nets. (©2014 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
From the Field

What is malaria? Facts, FAQs, and how to help

Nicole Wetmore walks the Global 6K for Water in Placerville, California. Nicole is the host site leader for Green Valley Community’s Church’s participation in the 6K event and subsequent Celebration Sunday.
Change Makers

Global 6K for Water creates an unforgettable moment for a California pastor