One month later: Cyclone Idai’s devastation by the numbers


A month ago, Cyclone Idai crashed into Mozambique. So power­ful was the storm that drove into neighbouring landlocked Zimba­bwe and Malawi. The flood waters are receding, and the scale of the devastation is becoming clear. The official figures look like this:

1,005: The total death toll, but this could rise as recovery operations continue.

3 million: The number of people who have been affected by Cyclone Idai across the region.

$2 billion: Early estimates of the recovery costs for infrastructure and people’s livelihoods.

$88 million: Funding received, 23% of the $390 million needed, according to Amnesty International.

Category 3: Cyclone Idai’s strength could be compared to a category 3 major hurricane in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.

194km/h: Maximum windspeeds reached by Cyclone Idai.

Worst-hit-Mozambique is still reeling from Cyclone Idai. Nearly 20 years ago, Mozam­bique was devastated by Cyclone Eline that killed nearly 800 people. In the years since, Mozambique has put measures in place to lessen the impact of seasonal flooding, but found itself ill-prepared for the destruction of Cyclone Idai.

602: Official death toll

1,641: People injured

131,600: The number of displaced persons, housed in 136 facilities across the country.

3,340: The number of classrooms destroyed, as 305,700 children are affected.

90%: The infrastructure destroyed, as 305,700 children are affected.

90%: The infrastructure destroyed in the city Beira, the epicenter of the disaster.

4,072: The number of cholera cases report­ed in Mozambique alone.

802,347: People reached by an Oral Chol­era Vaccination by the Mozambican govern­ment and aid agencies in a desperate attempt to stop the disease.

8: Confirmed cholera deaths.

7,500: The number cholera cases reported

since Cyclone Idai.

470,000: Hectares of crops washed away.


Cyclone Idai worsened an already bad eco­nomic situation in Zimbabwe. Aid has not been immune to existing political realities, with opposition politicians accusing the ruling party of corruption, and relief has been slow to reach those affected. Zimbabweans living near the Chimanimani Mountains had to contend with mudslides that covered whole villages.

344: Official death toll

200: People injured

Unknown: The number of Zimbabweans who were washed downriver and down moun­tainsides into Mozambique, which could see the death toll rise in Zimbabwe. The Zimba­bwean government has now dispatched pathol­ogists to Mozambique to help identify bodies. Back home, rescuers are now “confined to re­covery of the deceased.”

$612 million: The amount of aid Zimba­bwe has requested.

4,000: The number of homes destroyed or currently uninhabitable.

16,000: The number of households who re­main displaced.


Cyclone Idai did not directly rip through Malawi, but it did cause massive flooding that destroyed villages and crops. Caught in ex­treme weather, the drought in the region has now been exacerbated  by flooding in one of the world’s poorest countries.

59: Official death toll

672: People injured

16,000: Households affected

12,759: Hectares of crops destroyed in the Nsanje district alone.

– Quartz


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