Cyclone Idai in southern Africa

two SHA specialists and their local partners inspects a well
SHA specialists and their local partners inspect wells in several villages in the Búzi district. © SDC

Cyclone Idai has caused major damage and the deaths of hundreds of people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Mozambique has been hit the hardest. Switzerland has responded to the emergency by sending relief aid and specialists from its Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA). The SDC's Humanitarian Aid Department is focusing on water, logistics and food security.

On Thursday 14 March 2019, cyclone Idai made landfall at the city of Beira, 1,200 km to the north of the Mozambican capital, Maputo. Idai is one of the most severe tropical storms to have hit south-east Africa in the last 30 years.

Deployment of specialists and relief aid

On Saturday 16 March, Swiss Humanitarian Aid deployed a team of specialists to Mozambique. The specialists evaluated the situation and set up emergency relief measures to help provide logistics, emergency shelter and drinking water. Twelve tonnes of relief goods – mainly materials and tools for building shelters – were transported to the disaster area with the first team.

Focus on water, logistics and food security

Because of the large-scale needs on the ground, on 22 March Swiss Humanitarian Aid delivered more relief supplies to help restore the drinking-water supply in the Chimoio region. The delivery was accompanied by a second SHA team, consisting mainly of water specialists and logisticians.

In addition, Switzerland is providing four SHA members to UN agencies responding on the ground to the catastrophic flooding. Swiss Humanitarian Aid has allocated a total of CHF 2 million to help people in south-east Africa cope with the ensuing hardship. Half of this is being used for the department's own activities in the water sector. The other half has been disbursed to UN agencies fighting the catastrophic flooding in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Mozambique is a priority country for Swiss development cooperation.