Tropical Cyclone Idai

Active Emergency
March 14, 2019
Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi

Deadly Cyclone

Approximately 2.6 million people were affected by Cyclone Idai across three countries. The storm lashed the city of Beira in central Mozambique on March 14 before barreling inland through Zimbabwe and Malawi.  Reports indicate 90 percent of Beira was damaged or destroyed. Nearly 1,900 square miles are underwater in the region from epic flooding. According to officials, more than 600 deaths have been reported in Mozambique alone, with at least 1,000 total deaths in the 3 countries, along with hundreds of others missing and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. Over a million children have been affected by the disaster.  United Nations officials say this could be the worst weather-related disaster in history to have struck the southern hemisphere.  

Our Response

Americares has deployed emergency response experts to Mozambique and Malawi to assess health needs, work with national and local organizations responding to the crisis, and coordinate emergency shipments of medicine and relief supplies that are currently underway for Cyclone Idai survivors. In addition to readying essential items such as antibiotics, wound care supplies, hygiene products and medicine, the team is actively involved in coordination meetings and working with partners such as UNFPA to identify other response opportunities. The cyclone destroyed more than 50 health centers in Mozambique and persistent logistical challenges are hampering the restocking of essential medicines and supplies to other health facilities. The appearance of hundreds of cases of cholera and other water borne diseases underscores the need for addressing safe water and sanitation concerns in the aftermath of the floods. Our ER experts in Malawi are working with local partners to support the delivery of critical relief supplies.  

“We know what is needed to save lives and prevent the spread of disease. The challenge is getting those supplies to rural communities with extensive damage to roads and bridges.” -- Dr. E. Anne Peterson, SVP Global Programs

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IPC Program Underway

The ER Team is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministry of Health (MOH) of Mozambique to deploy Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) training and supervision teams to support the delivery of critical IPC information to public health facilities throughout the affected area. Two IPC teams have arrived in Beira and a third team is on the way. Each team will be based in Beira and consist of two IPC experts (infectious disease physician, public health expert or Water Sanitation and Hygiene/WASH expert), as well as a representative from the MOH. Americares is currently the only organization supporting the WHO and MOH on this initiative, which remains a critical need to address the risk of infectious diseases.

The WHO and MOH have jointly identified more than 20 public health facilities throughout the affected area that need IPC training.  The ER team anticipates training 20 to 30 health workers per facility. The curriculum includes an overview of cholera prevention and control, proper hand hygiene for health care providers, cleaning and disinfecting patient care areas and personal hygiene among other topics. The IPC training is designed by Americares based on a previous training created for Tanzania.