Cyclone in southern Africa leaves behind death, destruction in major humanitarian emergency

Thursday, March 21, 2019

“We are waiting to hear what the needs are and what role the Foodgrains Bank may play in response,” says Barbara Macdonald, who directs international programming for the Foodgrains Bank. (Photo: CNN)

Update: Since the release of this story, the Foodgrains Bank has begun participating in the Humanitarian Coalition’s joint Cyclone Idai appeal, a united effort of leading Canadian aid agencies to provide Canadians with a simple and effective way to help people in these three countries. To donate, please click here.

Hundreds dead, situation continuing to escalate

Six days after a devastating cyclone made landfall in southern Africa resulting in widespread damage and flooding, over one thousand people are feared dead and many more lives are at risk as the disaster continues to grow.

While the cyclone caused devastation across Zimbabwe and Malawi as well, in Mozambique, the World Food Programme is warning of “a major humanitarian emergency that is getting bigger by the hour,” noting that 1.7 million people were in the path of the cyclone.

400,000 people in Mozambique are currently displaced from their homes.

In Malawi, 920,000 people were affected, and hundreds of people were affected in Zimbabwe.

Canadian Foodgrains Bank is monitoring the situation closely to determine the role it may be able to play through its members in the weeks and months to come. The immediate need right now is to help those trapped by floodwaters or injured from the cyclone.

“Through our members, who have partners and connections on the ground in each country affected, including Mozambique, we are waiting to hear what the needs are and what role the Foodgrains Bank may play in response,” says Barbara Macdonald, who directs international programming for the Foodgrains Bank.

“There are people who have lost everything,” she says. “We are hearing roads have been washed out, that thousands of people are stranded on rooftops awaiting rescue.”

“While we watch and wait from here in Canada, we can remember our brothers and sisters in southern Africa in prayer,” she adds.

Heavy rainfall is expected to continue, causing further damage and affecting even more people in the days to come.

–Amanda Thorsteinsson, Communications Coordinator

Update: Since the release of this story, the Foodgrains Bank has begun participating in the Humanitarian Coalition’s joint Cyclone Idai appeal, a united effort of leading Canadian aid agencies to provide Canadians with a simple and effective way to help people in these three countries. To donate, please click here.