On the front lines of climate change.

Highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, Mozambique has faced a destructive cycle of severe droughts, heavy flooding, rising sea levels and increasingly intense cyclones, as well as a rapidly intensifying conflict in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

In March 2019, Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira City in Mozambique as a Category 4 cyclone, generating one of the worst weather-related disasters to hit the Southern hemisphere. Tens of thousands of people had to quickly flee from their homes, most with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Some 1.85 million people needed urgent assistance, according to the appeal launched by humanitarian partners. The Government and international partners responded as soon as the storm approached. But with roads and bridges destroyed, access was a major problem.

The aid operation was rolled out in four phases:

In the first, search-and-rescue workers saved at least 1,400 people who were trapped or stranded people using helicopters, boats and rafts.

In the second, air pilots began identifying pockets of people who were trapped by flood waters, but on higher ground and therefore not at immediate risk of death. Humanitarian partners quickly packed available supplies and distributed high-energy biscuits (brought in from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot) and non-food items via airdrops for those in need.

In the third, with road access outside of Beira expanding and additional supplies and staff arriving, humanitarian actors rapidly expanded the scale and scope of the humanitarian effort, in support of the Government-led response.

More than 1.6 million people were reached with food assistance, more than 723,000 people assisted to access clean water.
An oral cholera vaccination campaign was also rapidly implemented, reaching 98.6 per cent of its target, more than 87,500 households were reached with shelter, and multiple actions were taken to prevent and address protection risks.

In the fourth phase, efforts shifted to ensuring that people in hard-to-reach areas had not been left behind. Information from affected areas and all of the partners involved in the response was compiled regarding remote communities that had received little or no assistance. The information was used to inform immediate response activities targeted to those locations.

Five weeks later, a second storm, Cyclone Kenneth, impacted the Cabo Delgado region of northern Mozambique, as the most intense tropical cyclone ever known to have hit the area. People in the region were already dealing with conflict, as well as high levels of poverty and hunger. Humanitarians rapidly adapted and stretched their resources across the central and northern regions of the country to respond to the urgent needs generated by both cyclones.

Watch this video to learn more about the humanitarian response in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai.

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Beira, March 2019.
Survivors of Cyclone Idai, cut off by flood water, arrive by rescue boat to an evacuation centre in Beira, and are provided with first aid and emergency supplies.

Denis Onyodi/Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

Beira region, March 2019.
An aerial view of the impact of cyclone Idai.



Beira, March 2019.
Children receive food at the Samora Machel school where they took shelter after their homes were destroyed and flooded by Cyclone Idai.

UNICEF/ Karel Prinsloo


Barada, Sofala Province, March 2019.
Emergency food assistance is offloaded from a WFP helicopter.

WFP/Rein Skullerud


First day of the cholera vaccination campaign in Beira. Cholera, deadly if left untreated, is largely caused by the ingestion of contaminated food and water.

OCHA/Saviano Abreu


Macomia district in Cabo Delgado, April 2019.
An aerial view of the area, heavily damaged by Cyclone Kenneth.

OCHA/Saviano Abreu