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MSF's Emergency Response in Southern Africa

Read more about MSF's response to Cyclone Idai

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Southern African Emergency Response

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams responded to the damage caused when Tropical cyclone Idai hit various Southern African countries including Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi from Thursday, 14 March 2019. For more up-to-date information on crisis updates, please see the crisis info sections listed above.

We would like to thank each donor who supported MSF during the emergency.

Kindly note that this is no longer an emergency and our teams continue to provide medical care to our patients through existing operations.

MSF's Southern African Emergency Response

20 March 2019
MSF OCB Supply Warehouse

Getting emergency supplies ready from our supplies warehouse.

Emergency Supply to Mozambique

A shipment weighing a total of 43.3 tons and including medical kits, water and sanitation supplies, logistical equipment and other items needed for MSF’s emergency response operations in Mozambique.

Transit Centre in Beira Mozambique

This is one of Beira’s numerous transit centres where those rescued from trees, roofs and small patches of dry ground in the flooded areas like Buzi are sheltering. MSF is running mobile clinics to some of these transit centres in order to provide primary health care to the families.

MSF House in Beira

The MSF house, doubling up as the office, in Beira city. This is serving as the first base for MSF's emergency response to the flooding after Cyclone Idai tore through the city on the night of 14 March.

Mobile Clinics in Beira Mozambique

This is one of Beira’s numerous transit centres where those rescued from trees, roofs and small patches of dry ground in the flooded areas like Buzi are sheltering. MSF is running mobile clinics to some of these transit centres in order to provide primary health care to the families.

Scenes of Destruction in Beira

Flooding in Beira, Mozambique.

Flooding in Beira Mozambique

Flooding in Beira, Mozambique.

MSF Team in Chimanimani

An MSF team walk on foot to access a village cut off by damage caused by Cylone idai in Chimanimani.

Roads Damaged by Flooding in Chimamani, Zimbabwe

MSF responds to flooding in Zimbabwe.

MSF Fieldworker

Collection, assembly and transport of supplies from Bangula to Makhanga by boats, then once the team has reached Makanga, transport of supplies and medical supplies by cart lead by oxen.

Flooding in Malawi

Chikali health centre (background) in Makhanga district, which was badly affected by flooding. MSF is constructing toilets and rehabilitating water points in the district.

Transporting Supplies from Bangula to Makhanga, Malawi

Collection, assembly and transport of supplies from Bangula to Makhanga by boats, then once the team has reached Makanga, transport of supplies and medical supplies by cart lead by oxen.

Transporting Supplies from Bangula to Makhanga, Malawi

Collection, assembly and transport of supplies from Bangula to Makhanga by boats, then once the team has reached Makanga, transport of supplies and medical supplies by cart lead by oxen.

Transporting Supplies from Bangula to Makhanga, Malawi

Collection, assembly and transport of supplies from Bangula to Makhanga by boats, then once the team has reached Makanga, transport of supplies and medical supplies by cart lead by oxen.

Images from the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, affecting Southern African countries: Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

Latest News

Mozambique

Tropical cyclone Idai hit the coastal town of Beira on 14 March 2019 with winds of up to 200kms an hour, wreaking extreme devastation along the central coastline of Sofala, Zambézia and Inhambane provinces. Ninety percent of the area around Beira has been destroyed, main roads leading into Beira have been cut off, buildings have been submerged and severely damaged and all business has been shut down. There is currently no power in Beira and the surrounding areas, and nearly all communication lines have been destroyed, which is making assessment of the human toll and scale of disaster extremely difficult. The official death toll has risen to 446 deaths and at least 1,500 injuries have been reported between Beira, Dondo and Chimoio cities.

As a result of the natural disaster, MSF’s medical activities in Beira hospital, including health centres, have been critically damaged. Beira hospital has sustained severe damage to its operating theatre and several of the wards, and all 17 health centres have lost their roofs with additional damage. Despite the damage, the hospital has treated more than 1,500 wounded patients – providing an indication of how serious this emergency is.

After several worrying days, we are relieved to report that all MSF staff have been accounted for, despite a few injuries reported.

“The first thing you see when you arrive is destruction – and a lot of water. We hear that the situation outside the town may be even worse, but in the limited time since we got here we’ve focused on trying to understand the situation and needs in this city, as there are some 500,000 inhabitants and most houses are damaged or destroyed." - Gert Verdonck, MSF emergency coordinator in Beira, Mozambique.

MSF has had operations in Mozambique since 1984, providing specialized care where the frail health system is struggling to curb a dual epidemic of HIV and tuberculosis (TB). Read more about our work in Mozambique by clicking here.

Zimbabwe

 
After passing through Mozambique, Cyclone Idai hit Chimanimani, a small district of approximately 30,000 people in Manicaland province late Friday 15 March. Several roads leading into Chimanimani have been cut off, with access to the area only possible by helicopter. Airlifts were intended to take place to a nearby stabilisation centre but efforts are being hampered by difficult weather conditions.

MSF is focusing on supporting stabilisation centres outside Chimanimani with medical supplies and water and sanitation support.

MSF has been present in Zimbabwe since 2000. Currently, MSF operations include providing treatment for HIV, tuberculosis (TB), non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health issues, in partnership with the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and Child Care. Read more about our work in Zimbabwe by clicking here.

Malawi

In Malawi, MSF has had a flooding response for the past 2 weeks. The flooding initially started in Malawi from the early beginnings of the storm system, before the storm intensified and moved offshore, becoming Cyclone Idai and returning back to make landfall in Mozambique. This has caused severe flooding in 14 of Nsanje’s 28 districts. Rivers have broken their banks leaving many houses fully submerged and around 11,000 households displaced in Nsanje.
 
An MSF emergency intervention has been launched with a focus on Makhanga area in the worst affected East Bank of Nsanje.  MSF is also supporting Makhanga health centre with supplies, cleaning, human resources, along with strengthened surveillance and referral systems, along with outreach clinics and health promotion activities in the evacuation centres. 
 
MSF first worked in Malawi in 1986, providing HIV treatment to patients when the HIV epidemic was at its peak in the country. More recently, MSF provides prevention and early treatment of cervical cancer. Read more about our work in Malawi by clicking here.

About MSF

We are Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Our medical teams act fast to save people’s lives in conflict zones, natural disasters and epidemics. We go where we are needed most.

MSF was created in the belief that all people should have access to healthcare regardless of gender, race, religion, creed or political affiliation, and that people’s medical needs outweigh respect for national boundaries. MSF’s principles of action are described in our charter, which established a framework for our activities.

MSF is a registered and accredited Public Benefit Organisation (PBO 930025677) and Non-Profit Organisation (NPO 060-840) in South Africa and any donation to MSF is specifically exempted from donations tax as provided for in Article 30 Section 18A of the Income Tax Act.

 

 

Visit the South African National Department of Health’s online resource and news portal for more information regarding COVID-19: www.sacoronavirus.co.za