Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall over Mozambique’s city of Beira, Sofala Province, with 177km/h (106mph) winds on March 15, in what is being described as potentially the Southern Hemisphere's worst ever weather-related disaster.
This led to massive floods and leaving more than hundreds of people dead and hundreds of thousands affected and forced to flee their homes.
The death toll has continued to rise with current figures putting the confirmed death toll at 518 in Mozambique alone. An estimated 600,00 people have been directly impacted, while an estimated 400,000 people have been displaced. An estimate 951,000 acres of crops have been damaged and destroyed, including an estimate of 17,400 houses*
The situation is likely to deteriorate as forecasts predict heavy rainfall in Sofala and Manica provinces and at least 350,000 people are at risk (OCHA Flash Update, 19 March). While Beira is reportedly 90 percent destroyed, there is a strong likelihood of greater destruction outside of the city.
To make matters worse, more than 500 cases of cholera have since been reported and increasing daily. Officials have warned that the outbreak could reach epidemic proportions. Cholera is spread through human waste in the water supply. The flood water itself is not the primary risk. Instead, the risk comes because the existing drinking water supplies having been damaged by the flooding.
* Usaid.gov. (2019). Mozambique - Tropical Cyclone Idai - Fact Sheet #1 FY2019 | March 22, 2019 | U.S. Agency for International Development. [online] Available at: https://www.usaid.gov/cyclone-idai/fy19/fs1 [Accessed 3 Apr. 2019].