How To Help Victims of Africa’s Cyclone Idai
If you know me (or even just follow me on social media) then you know that the continent of Africa is near and dear to my heart.
You may also know that I’ve been (slowly) putting together and sharing content from my most recent 7+ months in the Motherland, and this past week I (finally) finished editing the second installment of my vlog series, The Africa Diaries ~ Mozambique.
I was so excited to share the wild beauty and adventure that my husband and I encountered during our time in this coastal gem-of-a-country — that is until I heard about Cyclone Idai that recently struck parts of Mozambique and its neighboring countries (including Zimbabwe and Malawi — two countries we also spent time in — as well as Madagascar).
After seeing the news and grasping the severity of the damage caused by Idai (which I’ll briefly touch on below), it just didn’t feel right to put out any new content without first drawing attention to the immediate needs of men, woman, and children in places that gave so much to us when we visited.
I still plan to put out the new vlog later this week to show just how beautiful Mozambique and her people are, but I wouldn’t feel right about it if I didn’t share the following first…
In mid-March, 2019, Cyclone Idai swept through Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar in what’s being regarded as one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa.
The category 3 cyclone brought with it excessive wind speeds, flooding, storm surge, and death — killing at least 788 people (468 in Mozambique, 261 in Zimbabwe, 60 in Malawi, and one in Madagascar) according to preliminary estimates from officials. It has also left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and displaced and aid workers across the region bracing for the spread of disease, including cholera and malaria.
Beria, a coastal city in Mozambique of more than half a million people, bore the brunt of the storm with 80-90% of the city estimated to be destroyed (as of posting this blog, reports have officially confirmed the city’s first cases of cholera).
A number of charitable organizations and government-run programs are working closely with national partners to support the rescue and relief efforts for Mozambique and neighboring communities impacted by Cyclone Idai, delivering clean water, food, emergency shelter materials and blankets, as well as urgent medical assistance.
One of the best ways we can help during a crisis like this is to support reputable organizations with well-trained, dedicated team members working on the frontlines.
That being said, I know that natural disasters similar to Idai happen all over the world and there are a number of other communities in desperate need of assistance at this very moment, and by no means do I mean to discount any of them by only sharing about this particular story.
As mentioned, I had the privilege of visiting some of the countries affected by Cyclone Idai and got to experience first-hand just how beautiful the people, landscapes and wildlife are in these countries, so my heart can’t help but feel extra heavy for those suffering from this catastrophic event.
For anyone with the will and means to donate to Idai’s relief efforts, I have compiled a list of reputable organizations working to help those affected below.
Please know that if this particular cause feels too far from home to support, that’s totally okay! There are a number of other important/timely causes — likely, even in your own community — worthy of your willingness to help. So whatever cause or causes speak to you, I’d just like to say thank you in advance for supporting it/them in any way you can.
- CARE has emergency experts in Mozambique assessing the damage while providing search and rescue support around the hard-hit city of Beira. They are working to provide much-needed supplies to the area, including tents, buckets, tarps, blankets and hygiene kits. The organization also has teams on the ground in Zimbabwe and Malawi to assess the needs of the affected communities. You can make a donation here to support their efforts in southern Africa.
- Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres has teams in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi assessing the damage, trying to reach hard-hit communities and working to deliver medical kits as well as water and sanitation supplies to those in need. You can make a general donation here.
- Gorongosa National Park, a preservation area in central Mozambique, has set up its own emergency food program to provide food and safe water in areas that are harder to reach by the national emergency response crews. Donate and read campaign updates here. (**This is the campaign that my husband and I chose to support because we visited the park and can honestly say that their on-the-ground team is incredibly dedicated to the local communities of Mozambique).
- Oxfam has teams assessing the needs of people worst affected in all three nations. You can make a general donation here.
- Catholic Relief Services is the international agency of the Catholic Church in the United States. Working with local partners in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, Catholic Relief Services are working to provide an initial 4,000 families with immediate aid – food, emergency shelter, water and living supplies.
- The Association for the Children of Mozambique is a Mozambique-based charity founded by Swiss national Barbara Hoffman.The organization provides support to orphans and runs schools in the country.
- Joint Aid Management (JAM) is an African-founded organization working and operating in Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda and Sierra Leone.
- The UN’s International Disaster Relief System fund would support efforts to provide aid to more than 400,000 people. UNICEF is also on the ground helping children and families. You can make tax-deductible donation to their relief fund here. USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, also has its own donation page.
- The United Nations World Food Programme is distributing food in the city of Beira and surrounding areas, and will stay on the ground to aid recovery as the flooding dwindles. To support their mission, donate here.
- Gift of the Givers is an African disaster relief organization that is leading flood response in Malawi. You can contribute to their efforts here.
- International Medical Corps has been in Zimbabwe since 2009, and they have deployed a response team in Southeastern Africa that is working to access the most devastated areas.
- The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization, is accepting donations for Mozambique relief efforts.
- World Vision, a global Christian organization, is responding to affected areas in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, providing food, water and sanitation supplies. They have also provided household supplies to 3,000 families in Mozambique so far.
- Americares has deployed a team to Mozambique to assess health needs and coordinate emergency shipments of medicine and relief supplies for survivors. You can donate to Americares Worldwide Disaster Relief Fund here to support its response to the cyclone.
- Humanity & Inclusion has 40 staff members on the ground, including a small team in Beira. The group has worked in Mozambique since 1986, tackling issues stemming from the country’s 25-year-long civil war with a focus on people with disabilities. Staff members are currently working to clear roads to rural communities cut off from humanitarian aid in the wake of the cyclone. You can make a donation to support their efforts here.
- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has an emergency response unit in Beira that will provide sanitation for 20,000 people every day. Another emergency response unit is expected to arrive in the coming days and will provide clean water for 15,000 people a day. Two emergency field hospitals are also en route to Mozambique to provide urgently-needed medical care. You can donate to their Mozambique campaign here.
- The International Rescue Committee has launched an emergency response for people displaced by the cyclone in eastern Zimbabwe. The organization has teams on the ground in the hardest-hit areas providing medical care and emergency supplies for the most vulnerable. You can donate to support their efforts here.
- Save the Children has delivered at least 51 metric tons of humanitarian aid to Mozambique, including tarps, buckets and tents. The organization is also working to provide displaced families with kits for water purification and hygiene. An estimated 350,000 children in Martinique alone are said to be in dire need of immediate relief. You can donate to support their efforts here.
Note: I did my best to verify the above organizations to the best of my ability. If you aren’t sure about the legitimacy of a charitable organization soliciting donations, you can always visit CharityNavigator.org to get more detailed information.