Press release

Cyclone Idai: Medair deploys Global Emergency Response Team

22 March 2019

Paola Barioli

Media Relations Officer

Photo from Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. The cyclone made landfall on 14 March 2019 in Mozambique (Photo: ©Food for the Hungry)

Lausanne, Switzerland. 22 March 2019. Medair is sending an emergency response team to Mozambique to support the survivors of Cyclone Idai. A team of experienced emergency professionals will arrive in Mozambique in the next 48 hours. They will conduct rapid needs assessments and start responding to the most pressing needs.

More than 2.6 million people have been affected by the devastating impact of tropical Cyclone Idai that swept across Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi between 14 and 16 March. The cyclone that made landfall near Beira city, in central Mozambique, has left a path of destruction. Over 240 people have been killed in Mozambique alone, with the death toll expected to rise further in the coming days.

“The scale of this disaster is massive. Almost the entire city of Beira has been destroyed and several areas are severely flooded. Many people are still trapped on their roofs,” reports Anne Reitsema, Medair’s International Programmes Director. “This cyclone has depleted people’s already stretched coping mechanisms, leaving them extremely vulnerable while struggling to survive and recover in the aftermath of such a major disaster.”

Hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless, and roads and bridges have been severely damaged. Food insecurity is a significant concern as crops have been washed away before the main harvest. The floods and absence of adequate sanitation and safe drinking water significantly increase the risk of outbreaks of diseases such as cholera.

“The needs are enormous. Safe drinking water, food, and shelter are urgently needed. With the severe damage to the infrastructure and metres-deep flood waters, access is a serious challenge but we do everything we can to reach those in desperate need of emergency assistance,” says Anne.

For media

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Paola Barioli, Press Relations Officer (in Mozambique):,
+41(0)78 635 30 95

For regular updates, please check or our twitter feeds @MedairInt and @MedairPress.

Medair is an international humanitarian NGO that provides emergency relief and recovery services to families made vulnerable by natural disasters, conflicts, and other crises.