Cyclone Idai devastates hundreds of thousands of people in Mozambique

Posted by
Laura Merrifield
March 22, 2019
Girl carrying child in Cyclone
Girl carrying child in Cyclone

All of us at WaterAid are saddened and worried to see the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai. Hundreds of thousands of people who were already struggling to survive have lost their homes and livelihoods and will require long-term support to recover.

Many people are without essential services such as clean water, toilets and hygiene and there is possibility of serious cholera outbreaks that will further complicate the situation.

WaterAid does not have program work in the area of Mozambique worst hit by the cyclone, however we do work in other regions of Mozambique and Malawi which have been affected by heavy rains and flooding.

Flooding has affected communications, so we are still gathering information to determine the impact on our programs however initial reports include destroyed household toilets and damage to some water systems and hygiene facilities. The affected populations are at high risk of waterborne diseases.

WaterAid is not a humanitarian charity, however, we are working to support the emergency response in partnership with other agencies with offers of staff, technical support and funding. We will also continue our development work to deliver water, sanitation and hygiene, to help our communities recover and rebuild. 

Even before this disaster, 53% of people in Mozambique, and 33% of people in Malawi, did not have access to clean water close to home, while three-quarters of people in Mozambique and more than half of people in Malawi did not have access to a decent, private toilet. In such conditions, the risk of cholera and other waterborne diseases is high.

As climate change takes hold, these extreme weather shocks will worsen. It is imperative that financing and support for climate adaptation and disaster preparedness and recovery are put in place to help communities and countries recover after such devastating events. 


WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The international not-for-profit organization works in 34 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 25.8 million people with clean water and 25.1 million people with decent toilets.