The Southern African Development Community (SADC) experienced the most devastating impacts of a Level 4 Tropical Cyclone IDAI, leading to three affected Member States; Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe declaring states of emergency1. The flooding caused immediate and extensive damage leading to hundreds of lives lost, destruction of infrastructure, disruption of basic services and livelihoods as well as the destruction of croplands and crops.
Mandated by the Chairperson of SADC, His Excellency Dr. Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, the SADC Secretariat has developed this Regional Appeal in Response to the Tropical Cyclone Idai to reinforce the affected Member States’ efforts and ensure collective efforts in the region for strengthened national capacities to meet the needs and requirements of the affected communities. The region will also draw lessons that will facilitate coordinated future response. The Appeal is based on national humanitarian disaster declarations by the three Member States, while consolidating and complimenting national appeals.
2. SCOPE OF THE CRISIS
SADC Region with its six (6) coastal countries, six (6) in-land countries and four (4) island states of the South-West Indian Ocean is vulnerable to threats from tropical cyclone the most recent of which, was tropical cyclone IDAI that caused devastation in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The 2018/19 cyclone season, which started in September 2018 is very active and will end in May 2019, thus the need for continuous monitoring.
Tropical Cyclone IDAI, developed on the 5th March 2019 initially as a tropical depression near Maganja da Costa in Zambezia Province in Mozambique. It moved up to Niassa Province within Mozambique and turned towards southern Malawi where it caused heavy rain leading to flooding disaster, as shown in Figure 1 above. The tropical depression then returned to the Mozambique Chanel, where it gained momentum and became a Tropical Cyclone IDAI. The Tropical Cyclone IDAI curved back to Mozambique coastline and made landfall near Beira city on the 14th March 2019. On the 15th March the eye of the Tropical Cyclone was located approximately 25 km away of north-west of Beira, with maximum sustained winds up to 167 km/h. Heavy rainfall, strong winds and storm surge estimated at a maximum height of 2.5 metres were recorded in Beira and sweeping over the coast of the Sofala region 2. It further, moved westwards towards eastern Zimbabwe on subsequent days, with highly destructive impacts. It has been classified as the worst Tropical Cyclone to hit the SADC region in recent history.
A heavy rainfall alert was issued by the SADC Climate Services Centre (CSC) on the 4th March 2019, which was subsequently followed by advisories on the occurrence of Tropical Cyclone IDAI.
The floods caused by the Tropical Cyclone IDAI has affected 3 million people in the Republics of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe leaving 839 people dead, and this figure continued to rise as the rains stopped and water subsided. To date, over 201,476 people (Table 1) have been displaced and about 317 camps established. A total of 2,347 people have been reported injured and over 300 people are still missing in the affected countries. Cyclone IDAI has coincided with the lean season in affected areas. The loss of food stocks as well as food price increases have combined to make food accessibility and availability more difficult after the cyclone. Food availability is also a challenge in the affected areas not reachable due to the damage to roads and bridges. Basic Health and Sanitation services have been cut off due to washing away of water reticulation systems, sanitary and health facilities. Epidemics are reportedly on the increase as 1,052 cases of cholera, 535 cases of diarrhoea and 276 cases of malaria have been confirmed. Most of the affected people have been sheltered in 317 camps where gender-based-violence cases are also on the increase.