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