Photo provided by UNICEF/Juskauskas shows an aerial view of Tengani, Nsanje, Malawi, affected by floods due to incessant rains from March 5 to March 9 2019. Credit: UNICEF/Juskauskas

Whether it was Mother Nature demonstrating her might or rapidly increasing climate change, the East African countries of Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar have been devastated by Cyclone Idai which brought 100 MPH winds and torrential rains.

Rain began in early March and Cyclone Idai struck March 14 and 15.  United Nations officials reported that Mozambique has seen 598 deaths to date and nearly 300 deaths have been reported in Zimbabwe.  The storm has affected more than 2.6 million others with catastrophic damage in and around Beira in southern Mozambique.  The full impact is still being felt.

A photo supplied by the UN News Organization shows  homes covered by flood waters in Tengani, Nsanje, Malawi. Rapidly rising floodwaters have created “an inland ocean” in the country endangering many thousands of families, as aid organizations scramble to rescue and provide food to survivors of Cyclone Idai.

Experts believe that the gradual rise in temperatures exacerbated the storm.  Adding to this, the region had been suffering a drought in recent years.  The hard, thirsty earth was unable to absorb water quickly and increased the flash flooding.  Rising sea levels are much more powerful and increase the risk of inland flooding like that seen in the port city of Beira.  Sea levels are about a foot higher than a century ago due to melting ice at the poles.

Published reports from the region describe unimaginable human fatalities as well as destruction of crops and livestock just before the local harvest season.

“It’s a massive catastrophe. The government is saying it’s the worst humanitarian situation they’ve had,” said spokeswoman Caroline Haga for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Bloomberg reported.

Developed nations are sending aid and disaster relief teams to the area. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is dedicated to alleviating human suffering, but they are struggling to provide relief due to the oppressive weather conditions.  When the situation settles, the locals will require continued global support.


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