Tearfund home
Cyclone relief in Malawi

After the cyclone: how Tearfund is responding

By Andrew Horton | 03 Apr 2019

Since Cyclone Idai on 15 March, we’ve been working with our partners to respond across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Since Cyclone Idai on 15 March, we’ve been working with our partners to respond across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The full scale of the disaster is yet to be established, but more than 740 people are known to have been killed and almost 3 million people are in need of emergency aid.

Reaching some areas is proving difficult as many bridges have been washed away. But some people who fled their homes as flood waters rose are returning home and aid is getting through.

People’s most urgent needs are clean water, emergency shelter, food, health assistance, sanitation and hygiene, and trauma counselling.

Here is a summary of the relief work Tearfund and our partners have been able to carry out so far:

Just before Cyclone Idai hit, heavy rain fell in Malawi causing widespread flooding.

More than 850,000 people were affected, with 59 deaths and hundreds injured. Over 170 makeshift camps have been set up by people who have lost their homes and have nowhere else to live.

The Goma camp in Chikwawa is sheltering 1,832 people including 43 breastfeeding mothers and 330 children under five. Tearfund partner, Eagles, is distributing food to those who managed to escape the floods. Each person is receiving a bag of maize flour, beans, cooking oil and salt. Currently there are enough supplies to reach 1,500 people.

There is concern at the likelihood of diseases such as cholera and malaria spreading.

Chimanimani and Chipinge, in the east of the country, were the hardest-hit districts. An estimated 270,000 people have been affected and many of the roads have been damaged or destroyed.

Staff from Tearfund’s partner, Zimbabwe Orphans Through Extended Hands (ZOE), visited communities in Chimanimani. Boulders, trees and rocks made it impassable by car, so they walked 12km to reach the community. 

They found several houses had been completely destroyed, leaving people homeless. There is also concern at the likelihood of diseases such as cholera and malaria spreading as sanitation facilities have been washed away.

We are working with our local church partner, the Evangelical Fellowship Zimbabwe (EFZ), to provide emergency relief to those affected by the flooding.

The official death toll in Mozambique has risen to 518 people, according to its government. Meanwhile, 247 cases of cholera have been reported in the city of Beira.

Tearfund’s partners have been part of search and rescue operations across Buzi, Nhamamtanda, Dondo and Beira – the most affected regions.

They have also been mobilising local churches to raise awareness and educate people in how safe hygiene practices can help prevent disease. 

They are distributing chlorine tablets and clean drinking water to prevent waterborne diseases from spreading, as well as tents and food.

Tearfund’s Jennipher Sakala, who leads Tearfund’s work in Southern and East Africa, says: ‘The current need is great and we are working tirelessly around the clock with our partners to ensure that we offer vital assistance to our affected brothers and sisters.’

Please pray

• Continue to pray for all those people who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods following Cyclone Idai.
• Ask God to protect and strengthen all those bringing relief to people in huge need.
• Thank God for the generous outpouring of support from the public. So far, £25 million has been raised through the Disasters Emergency Committee, of which Tearfund is a member. Pray for this to continue.

Written by

Written by 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.

Share this resource

If you found this resource useful, please share it with others so they can benefit too.