A woman holds a baby by a fallen tree after Cyclone Idai
A woman holds a baby by a fallen tree after Cyclone Idai

Cyclone Idai

Cyclone Idai

A woman holds her child in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in a village in Mozambique. Image: Josh Estey/CARE

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Key achievements after six months

agriculture icon


people received seeds, tools, fertiliser etc to regrow crops

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people benefited from hygiene kits

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people received food parcels

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families received household items

The DEC launched the Cyclone Idai Appeal on 21st March 2019, after the cyclone swept through Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, leaving behind a trail of destruction. 

Cyclone Idai brought strong winds and widespread flooding ripping apart roads, bridges, houses, schools, and health facilities and submerged vast swathes of agricultural land. Across the three countries, at least 900 people were killed and around three million were left in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

A view from above of a neighbourhood destroyed by Cyclone Idai

Just a few weeks later, Cyclone Kenneth followed, further weakening the country's ability to respond to the destruction. This was the first time in recorded history that two strong tropical cyclones hit Mozambique in the same season.

With the aid effort fully underway, DEC charities, working closely with national partners to support government-led relief efforts, prioritised the delivery of clean water, building toilets and handwashing facilities to tackle the outbreak of cholera. They also delivered emergency shelter materials and blankets, food such as pulses and maize flour, and urgent health assistance. The longer term focus is on food security and rehabilitation of livelihoods.


Joaquin, 55, received seeds to restart livelihood

Joaquin, 55, tends to the germinated seeds in his field in November 2019. Image: Peter Caton/DEC

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Cyclone Idai hit Joaquin’s farm hard. “Once I got there I saw the devastation, I realised that I had absolutely nothing left,” he recalls. “All my harvest was spoiled. The water was covering everything.” His whole family worked on the farm and its destruction left them without work, income or food. “The general feeling was of hopelessness,” says Joaquin.

To make matters worse, in the following months the family couldn’t get their seeds to grow, until DEC member World Vision distributed drought- and pest-resistant seeds. By November, Joaquin was tending to fields of sprouting maize. “I feel very happy because without these seeds we would have had many problems,” he says. “But these donated seeds have helped so much.”

DEC funds helped 220,000 people like Joaquin start regrowing crops in the first six months after the cyclone.

A child is examined at a mobile health clinic

Alberto* is examined at a mobile health clinic. Image: Peter Caton/DEC

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Mobile health clinics

Many of the areas affected by Cyclone Idai were very remote, making it almost impossible for people to get to a hospital. In the aftermath of the cyclone and flooding, cases of malaria increased due to the standing water and there were cases of malnutrition after crops were washed away just before the harvest.

DEC charity Save the Children used DEC funds to set up mobile health clinics that operate in a different location each day of the week. Alberto* was brought to the clinic by his mother, Lurde, after he developed a rash and was proscribed an ointment and medication.

Lurde said that many local people died during the cyclone. "The flood water was as high as if I was standing and someone else was standing on top of me," she said.

DEC fundraising for this appeal has now closed. Our appeal raised £43 million, including £4 million in Aid Match from the UK Government. Member charities will be spending DEC funds up to March 2021, after which we will publish a final report.

If you would still like to donate to help people affected, the following DEC member charities still have active appeals:


for this appeal, including £4 million matched by the UK Government. Thank you!

Ore Oduba presents the Cyclone Idai Appeal on the BBC

Cyclone Idai Appeal with Ore Oduba

This appeal was broadcast after the BBC News on 21 March 2019.

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Watch BBC DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal with Ore Oduba on YouTube.