Deadly cyclone hits Southern Africa

Disaster response and recoveryMalawiMozambiqueZimbabwe

Cyclone Idai has devastated parts of Southern Africa. Winds of up to 106 mph tore down homes and other buildings, and severe flooding has left thousands displaced and homeless.


Across Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi where the cyclone made landfall, reports indicate over 2.6 million people have been affected. In all three countries the work of Tearfund’s partners has been impacted.

In Zimbabwe, 92 people have died in the east and south of the country. Meanwhile, flooding in Malawi, caused by the rains before the cyclone made landfall, left 122 dead. In Mozambique’s Sofala and Manica Provinces, 74 people have died, with more than 1,508 injured and 7,095 displaced.

‘The situation is dire, the damage to infrastructure is beyond comprehension.'

Earnest Maswera, Tearfund

Launching a response
Tearfund is working with local partners to assess the needs of people affected and provide help where it’s needed most.

Edgar Jone, Tearfund’s Country Director in Mozambique, told us: ‘This is a huge setback for the work we are doing to support people to overcome poverty in Mozambique. Our priority now is reaching those people who have lost so much and support them to get back on their feet. Cyclone Idai has destroyed so much in an instant, but it will take years for people to rebuild what they have lost.’

In Malawi, the country was already enduring floods that caused the government to declare a state of national disaster a few days before Cyclone Idai hit. Vincent Moyo, Tearfund’s Country Director for Malawi, said: ‘With our partner, Eagles, we have been supporting people affected by flooding in Chikwawa district. The excess rains have caused the deaths of over 30 people there, destroying over 22,000 homes and displacing over 110,000. 

‘Currently we need plastic tarpaulins for shelter, clean treated water, and food. We are also seeking to ensure the prevention of water-borne diseases that may arise as a result of the floods.’

‘Beyond comprehension’
In Zimbabwe, flash floods have destroyed crops and livelihoods, with around 200 people injured. ‘The hardest hit areas are in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts,’ said Earnest Maswera, Tearfund’s Country Director in Zimbabwe. ‘The situation is dire, the damage to infrastructure is beyond comprehension, the need is enormous. The prayers and material support of the global church will go a long way in bringing relief to the hurting in Zimbabwe.’

As our staff and partners continue to assess and respond to this disaster, please join with us in prayer.

Please pray

  • Ask God to give comfort and provision for people who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods.
  • Pray for our partners, that they will be able to meet basic needs for people, including shelter, clean water, mosquito nets and food.
  • Many roads, buildings and communication networks have been damaged or destroyed. Pray for these nations to be able to rebuild and restart their lives again.

If you feel led, please donate to help people affected by Cyclone Idai.
Andrew Horton

Andrew is Online News and Film Editor for Tearfund. This involves finding and writing up inspiring articles for the website, and capturing compelling stories on video.