MAR 20, 2019 8:39 AM PDT

Cyclone Idai devastates southern Africa

Devastation hit southern Africa from Cyclone Idai last week, which struck Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe and continues to wreak havoc on the region as flooding up to six meters deep washes away homes and people and leaves a humanitarian and logistical nightmare.

"This is shaping up to be one of the worst weather-related disasters ever to hit the southern hemisphere, if the report by [Mozambique's] president and other agencies are confirmed, in terms of the causality toll," Clare Nullis from the UN's weather agency told the BBC. According to Save the Children, an aerial survey of the region shows that 50 kilometers of land are under water after the Buzi river overflowed.

Entire areas are inundated under up to six meters of water. Photo: Africa Feeds

The UN estimates hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, have been affected by the storm. The UN reported at least 1.7 million people in the direct path of Idai in Mozambique and 920,000 in Malawi. While the official death toll is currently 84 in Mozambique and 98 in Zimbabwe, officials are estimating over 1,000 people have lost their lives in the disaster and 100,000 more require urgent care or rescue near Beira, a port city in Sofala province of Mozambique where the cyclone struck with winds of up to 177 km/h (106 mph).

Flooding has cut off roads and power to the region surrounding Beira, making access to these areas almost impossible. "Main roads leading into Beira have been cut off, buildings have been submerged and severely damaged, and all business has been shut down," said the aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres. “Medical activities in Beira hospital, in local health centers, and throughout the community have ceased completely."

Lurking behind the humanitarian crisis is the cause of such a severe storm: climate change. Mozambique and Zimbabwe are prone to flooding and do not have the infrastructure in place to deal with the aftermath of extreme tropical storms like Idai. Cyclones and storm events are expected to get worse as the atmosphere warms and is capable of holding more moisture.

"As the effects of climate change intensify, these extreme weather conditions can be expected to revisit us more frequently. The devastation wrought by Cyclone Idai is yet another wake-up call for the world to put in place ambitious climate change mitigation measures," said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

Sources: BBC News, CNN

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
AUG 13, 2021
Earth & The Environment
As Above, So Below: Restoring Wetlands and Mapping Watersheds
AUG 13, 2021
As Above, So Below: Restoring Wetlands and Mapping Watersheds
Water is essential for all life on earth, and much of it is stored in wetlands. Biodiversity is high in wetlands, often ...
AUG 17, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Physicists Transform Pure Energy into Matter and Antimatter
AUG 17, 2021
Physicists Transform Pure Energy into Matter and Antimatter
A new study published in Physical Review Letters presents evidence for the creation of matter and antimatter from energy ...
SEP 08, 2021
Earth & The Environment
The Invasive Species Coming for your Wine!
SEP 08, 2021
The Invasive Species Coming for your Wine!
Invasive species are a problem throughout the world. Globalization means that we are continuously accidentally introduci ...
SEP 30, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Illegal Cannabis Grow Sites Could be Poisoning Threatened Animals
SEP 30, 2021
Illegal Cannabis Grow Sites Could be Poisoning Threatened Animals
Cannabis has been legalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in many US states, which is thought to be driving a r ...
OCT 03, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Oil Slick Washing Ashore in Southern California
OCT 03, 2021
Oil Slick Washing Ashore in Southern California
This weekend, an oil slick was spotted off the coast of southern California, about three miles from Newport Beach, south ...
OCT 07, 2021
Plants & Animals
Saving the Georgia Peach from Climate Change
OCT 07, 2021
Saving the Georgia Peach from Climate Change
On average, Georgia, the Peach State, produces an estimated 130 million pounds of peaches each year--that’s a lot ...
Loading Comments...