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Cyclone Idai makes landfall on Mozambique, causing at least 1,073 fatalities, as well as causing mass flooding and power outages in southern Africa.


Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. The long-lived storm caused catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, leaving more than 1,000 people dead and thousands more missing. Idai is the second-deadliest tropical cyclone recorded in the South-West Indian Ocean basin, behind only the 1892 Mauritius cyclone. In the Southern Hemisphere, it currently ranks as the third-deadliest tropical cyclone on record, behind the aforementioned 1892 Mauritius cyclone and the 1973 Flores cyclone. The cyclone's exact death toll is expected to never be known.

The tenth named storm, seventh tropical cyclone, and seventh intense tropical cyclone of the 2018–19 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season, Idai originated from a tropical depression that formed off the east coast of Mozambique on 4 March. The storm, Tropical Depression 11, made landfall in Mozambique later in the day and remained a tropical cyclone through its five-day trek over land. On 9 March, the depression re-emerged into the Mozambique Channel and strengthened into Moderate Tropical Storm Idai on the next day. Idai then began a stint of rapid intensification, reaching an initial peak intensity as an intense tropical cyclone, with sustained winds of 175 km/h (110 mph) on 11 March. Idai then began to weaken, due to ongoing structural changes within its inner core, falling to tropical cyclone intensity. Idai's intensity remained stagnant for about a day or so before it began to re-intensify. On 14 March, Idai reached its peak intensity, with maximum sustained winds of 195 km/h (120 mph) and a minimum central pressure of 940 hPa (27.76 inHg). Idai then began to weaken as it approached the coast of Mozambique, due to less favourable conditions. On 15 March, Idai made landfall near Beira, Mozambique, as an intense tropical cyclone, subsequently weakening into a remnant low on 16 March. Idai's remnants slowly continued inland for another day, before reversing course and turning eastward on 17 March. On 19 March, Idai's remnants re-emerged into the Mozambique Channel and eventually dissipated on 21 March.

Idai brought strong winds and caused severe flooding in Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, which killed at least 1,007 people – 602 in Mozambique, 344 in Zimbabwe, 60 in Malawi, and one in Madagascar – and affected more than 3 million others. Catastrophic damage occurred in and around Beira in central Mozambique. The President of Mozambique stated that more than 1,000 people may have died in the storm. A major humanitarian crisis unfolded in the wake of the cyclone, with hundreds of thousands of people in urgent need of assistance across Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In the former nation, rescuers were forced to let some people die in order to save others. A cholera outbreak ensued in the storm's wake, with more than 4,000 confirmed cases and seven fatalities by 10 April. Total damages from Idai across Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, and Malawi were estimated to be at least $2 billion (2019 USD), with US$1 billion alone in infrastructure damages, making Idai the costliest tropical cyclone in the South-West Indian Ocean basin.

Cyclone Idai



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Published in 20/05/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

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