WaterAid launches appeal for Cyclone Idai

Posted by
Carolynne Wheeler
29 March 2019
Climate change, Disasters

The scale of the devastation from Cyclone Idai is now apparent: nearly 3 million people affected across Southeastern Africa, with hundreds of people dead, hundreds of thousands left homeless, and waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and cholera already being reported. The need is enormous, and urgent.

WaterAid has today launched an emergency appeal to fund relief operations in two districts in Mozambique and Malawi. WaterAid is not an emergency response organisation and so is not a member of the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee). However, when disasters affect the communities we work with directly, and when our local partners on the ground are ready and able, we take action.

WaterAid will work with partner organisations on emergency provision of safe water and decent community toilets in temporary camps for displaced people in the Zambezia region of Mozambique and in Zomba district in Malawi. We will also distribute hygiene kits including soap, water buckets and purification tablets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and menstrual hygiene materials, to help prevent disease and provide comfort and dignity to survivors.

As a development agency, WaterAid will remain in these countries for the long-term, helping communities rehabilitate and improve water points and toilets. 

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, making communities more vulnerable to disease and making recovery more difficult. 

We know that as climate change takes hold, these extreme weather shocks will worsen in frequency and scale. We are also working with national governments and at the international level to ensure 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.


For more information, please contact: 

Carolynne Wheeler, news manager, [email protected] or +44 (0)207 793 4485, or Fiona Callister, global head of media, [email protected] or +44 (0)207 793 5022 

Or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552 or email [email protected] 


WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 26.4 million people with clean water and 26.3 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org/uk, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid.

  • 844 million people in the world – one in nine – do not have clean water close to home.[1]

  • 2.3 billion people in the world – almost one in three – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]

  • Around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]

  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]

  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

  • To find out if countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, see the online database www.WASHwatch.org


[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] washwatch.org

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage

[5] www.wateraid.org/uk