Cyclone Idai and Kenneth Children's Relief Fund

by Save the Children Federation
Cyclone Idai and Kenneth Children's Relief Fund

A year ago, Save the Children staff responded immidiatly to areas severely impacted by Cyclone Idai, which tore through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe on March 15, 2019 and left immense destruction in its wake.  Our relief and recovery response experts delivered lifesaving supplies to children and families including shelter kits, bedding, food and clean water and continues to help those in need. Our teams of doctors and nurses worked continuously to prevent outbreaks of disease and give access to health care.

 In addition, because we understand returning to school is a crucial step for children to regain a sense of normalcy, we worked to ensure girls and boys continued to learn by constructing temporary learning spaces, providing school supplies and training teachers how to offer practical and emotional support to traumatized children. Funding also supported our health, shelter and education work with goals to provide shelter kits to households, medical support, and establish temporary learning spaces for children whose schools had been damaged or destroyed, or closed due to use as emergency shelters.

Beacause of supporters like you, across the three countries, our response has reached more than 780,000 people, including 450,000 children, with aid. Thank you so much for your lifesaving support! 

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Baby Francisco
Baby Francisco

Cyclone Idai tore through central Mozambique on Friday 15 March 2019. The cyclone left a trail of destroyed homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure. Torrential rain lashed the region and flood waters engulfed entire communities. According to the Government of Mozambique, 1.85 million people have been impacted, including 900,000 children.

Save the Children was one of the first to respond to Cyclone Idai and has provided emergency assistance in the four affected provinces of Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia. We have distributed food and relief items such as tents, tarpaulins, mosquito nets and jerry cans; established Child Friendly Spaces and Temporary Learning Centres to ensure that children have a safe place to play, learn and receive psychosocial support; and provided families with seeds and tools so they can replant their crops.

Cassandra, 17, gave birth to baby Francisco less than two months after Cyclone Idai hit. Cassandra and her husband’s house could not withstand the wind and rain and collapsed. They do not have the money to rebuild their house, so they are living under a shelter made of grass.

They live in a very remote area without access to basic services. It took Cassandra eight hours to walk to the nearest hospital where she gave birth. Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit visits Cassandra’s community each week with a mobile clinic, delivering life-saving healthcare for children and families impacted by Cyclone Idai. Our mobile teams of nurses, doctors, nutritionists and midwives are providing antenatal and postnatal care, vaccinations and treatment for diseases such as malaria and diarrhea. The teams are also identifying malnourished children and providing them with life-saving therapeutic food and referring them on for further care.

Cassandra went to the clinic because she had been unwell since Francisco’s birth and she also wanted to ensure her baby was healthy. Save the Children’s midwife gave Francisco a full check up and prescribed medication for an infection.

Save the Children’s doctor tested Cassandra for malaria. Luckily, her test came back negative, however, the doctor prescribed her with some supplements to build back her strength after the birth.

Thanks to the support of donors like you, we are able to continue providing services to impacted children and families like Cassandra's. Thank you so much for your support! 

Save the Children Emergency Health Unit in action
Save the Children Emergency Health Unit in action
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On Friday, March 15, Cyclone Idai made landfall in central Mozambique. Winds of up to 110 mph swept across the countryside, destroying homes, schools, hospitals and roads. The weeks before the storm had seen heavy rain, and with Idai dumping torrents of water, rivers burst their banks. Whole communities were submerged under filthy, fast-moving floodwater. Many families had to climb onto the roofs of their homes or into trees to escape.

Crops were destroyed. Livestock were lost. Families were left with nothing. No food, no shelter. Everything they owned was gone. It’s a day no one will ever forget – especially children who had never seen anything like it before.

But the rampage wasn’t over when Idai finally released its grip on Mozambique. In neighboring Malawi and Zimbabwe, the torrential rains continued over already saturated provinces. Rivers there also overflowed, creating similar flooding. Families who had the fewest means to deal with a disaster were even more vulnerable.

Thanks to you, Save the Children teams in all three countries were on the ground within hours. With your support, we were there to help families find food, shelter and safety. And in the following weeks and months, we’ve supported people as they began rebuilding their lives.


Please see the attached PDF for details on our response, including providing food, clean water, restoring access to learning, and protecting children in the aftermath. 

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A mother and daughter at a temporary camp
A mother and daughter at a temporary camp

When Cyclone Idai struck northern Mozambique four of the country’s 10 providences were already flooded due to heavy rainfall. Hundreds of thousands of people that had previously been evacuated, including some 60,000 children, were living in shelters not equipped to handle the impending cyclone. Moving inland into Zimbabwe and Malawi, Cyclone Idai left a trail of destroyed homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure in its wake. A 30-mile-wide area in Mozambique’s Sofala province had been completely submerged.

An estimated 1.85 million people, including close to one million children, have been affected by Cyclone Idai. The disaster is one of the worst in southern Africa in decades. The double impact of Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth, which struck Mozambique just six weeks later, will affect children for years to come.

Many families have neither a home nor a village to return to, as entire villages were wiped out. As valuable agricultural land disappeared under water, so too the region’s food security. With crops destroyed and thousands of children already on the brink of hunger, the number of malnourished children under the age of five in cyclone-hit areas of Mozambique is expected to nearly double.

The contamination of water sources has created perfect conditions for diseases to spread rapidly. More than 6,500 cases of cholera have  been reported in Mozambique. A drastic spike in malaria has led to nearly 20,680 reported cases.

More than 3,500 classrooms have been destroyed in Mozambique alone, with hundreds more in Zimbabwe and Malawi impacted. 

Before Cyclone Idai made landfall, our Emergency Health Unit deployed to Mozambique and stood ready to respond to the needs of children in affected communities. In the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Idai, Save the Children delivered 112,400 pounds of critical supplies like tarps, hygiene kits, water jugs and tents to Mozambique via a cargo plane.

Our teams continue to deliver much-needed support to affected communities. Blankets, mosquito nets, buckets to store clean water and solar lights are being distributed to families. We’re also providing seeds and farming tools so that families can plant a new crop – just in time for the growing season.

We continue to expand the range of our mobile health clinics and we’re finding ways to provide health care in hard-to-reach areas that are still accessible only by air. As malaria is becoming a health concern, we continue to distribute mosquito nets to protect children and their families.

To ensure children don’t miss out on months of learning, our education team has been assessing damaged schools for repairs, constructing temporary learning spaces and replacing school supplies to get classes underway.

To support the emotional wellbeing of children who have suffered loss or separation from a loved one, we have established child-friendly spaces in shelters.  A child-friendly space provides a safe place to play and receive psychological and emotional support.

Thank you so much for your support of children in need. Your donation is helping provide this lifesaving relief to children and families impacted by these storms.

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Organization Information

Save the Children Federation

Location: Fairfield, CT - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @savethechildren
Project Leader:
Matilda Story
Fairfield, CT United States

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