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Cyclone Idai Emergency Response

by IsraAID
Cyclone Idai Emergency Response
Cyclone Idai Emergency Response
Cyclone Idai Emergency Response
Cyclone Idai Emergency Response
Cyclone Idai Emergency Response
Cyclone Idai Emergency Response
Cyclone Idai Emergency Response
Cyclone Idai Emergency Response

On International Women's Day, meet a few of the incredible women working to support communities in crisis with IsraAID in the Bahamas, Colombia, Greece, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and more.

We're incredibly proud of the strong women leaders we work with around the world, and hope you will enjoy the video linked below that celebrates their accomplishments.

IsraAID has been working in Mozambique since Cyclone Idai hit the country in March 2019. Today, we are working with the education system in Sofala Province toward increased preparedness for disasters, should they strike.

Thank you for your support! And we wish you a very happy International Women's Day!


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Cyclone Idai ravaged southeastern Africa in early March 2019, causing more than 1,000 fatalities and over $1 billion of damage. Subsequent heavy rains, flooding, and mudslides devastated everything in its path—with 1.8 million Mozambicans directly affected by the storm. Many international organizations called this “massive disaster” the worst weather-related crisis to have ever hit the southern hemisphere.

In the immediate aftermath, at least 130,000 were living in shelters across 136 sites; schools were repurposed as shelters, with many children unable to attend classes. Hundreds of thousands of people are still suffering due to a paralyzing loss of crops and livestock, overwhelming damage to buildings and key infrastructure, and thousands of vulnerable communities left without support, including traumatized children separated from their parents.

IsraAID’s Emergency Response Team arrived on 23 March and began conducting a needs assessment in partnership with the President of Mozambique’s office, as well as other international NGOs and local partners. IsraAID deployed a medical team, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene specialists, Pyschosocial Support professionals, and Protection coordinators to begin providing desperately needed aid.

Today, IsraAID remains on the ground providing recovery support to affected communities, in two main sectors:

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH):

IsraAID WASH specialists on the ground continue to ensure that communities have access to safe water. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the team distributed NUF filters, which can provide safe water for entire communities. All filter distributions were coupled with training community leaders on their use, to ensure their ongoing usage and effectiveness. Today, our team on the ground continues to visit these communities-- many of them remote and difficult to access-- to check on the NUF filters, the community members managing their usage, and to provide support with troubleshooting and maintenance. Check out the attached pictures!

Psychosocial Support in Education:

Disasters and conflicts can have a severe psychosocial impact on individuals, families and communities. Following Cyclone Idai, IsraAID conducted a monitoring process in 5 of the worst-affected school districts to evaluate the existing psychosocial capacity and future needs of teachers in each district. Responding to these findings, IsraAID and its partners have launched a program to strengthen the capacity of teachers to provide psychosocial support to children in their care, using relevant and adapted expressive methodologies. Based on the known mental health impact of disasters, coupled with IsraAID’s global experience supporting communities as the recovery from crisis, this program will bolster community resilience and promote a culture of psychosocial preparedness and mental health literacy within the education system of Sofala Province.

The immediate aftermath of a crisis is an apt time to focus on building resilience, as communities are more focused on such matters and have recent, first-hand experience to better identify potential hazards. Classrooms are an ideal setting for this intervention since children are some of the most vulnerable in emergencies, and educational frameworks are a natural confluence of society—where parents, staff, children, and local government interact. 

To accomplish this, IsraAID, in partnership with GIZ, the Sofala Provincial Ministry of Education, the Mozambican Department of Nutrition and Health in Schools, and other actors, will initiate a two-stage program to integrate psychosocial support and resilience education into the local school system. This program will reach more than 412,000 beneficiaries across 357 primary schools-- and is currently being launched!

More updates from the field to come! Thanks very much for your ongoing support!

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Cyclone Idai struck southeastern Africa in March 2019 with 205 km/h winds, causing catastrophic damage to areas of Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. With more the 1,300 fatalities as a result of the storm, the cycle is considered among the worst tropical cyclones to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere.

IsraAID’s emergency response team arrived on the ground shortly after the storm ended, bringing relief items, psychosocial support specialists, and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) programming to ensure access to safe water. As Mozambique continues on its long path to recovery, some communities are still without regular access to services—and IsraAID plans to stay on the ground and support those most vulnerable in the aftermath.

This past month, IsraAID WASH experts focused on increasing safe water access for remote villages located in the Sofala Province that we inaccessible during the early phases of the emergency response work. Three NUF Water Filters were delivered to different villages, identified and selected based on need, which will provide long-term water security to more than 500 people in each village.

IsraAID coupled the filter delivery with hands-on training to build the capacity of each village’s leaders in using and maintaining the NUF filter. These trainings focused on teaching women and children how to use the filters—as they are often those responsible for collecting water for each family.

One participant, Grace, shared with the IsraAID team that before the cyclone she would walk at least seven kilometers to reach safe water sources. She added that this was the first time she’d received any type of education since leaving school early in her childhood due to family pressure. Grace expressed anxiety as the training began—which transitioned to pride as she would be able to provide safe water for her family.

The IsraAID team on the ground plans to conduct an additional 8 NUF Filter distributions in the coming weeks—to Gorongosa, Maringue, Chibabava, and Buzi in Sofala Province.

Thank you for your support!

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Cyclone Idai tore through southeastern Africa beginning on March 14, 2019. More than 1.85 million people in Mozambique were directly impacted by the storm, including 603 fatalities. Just weeks after Idai, Cyclone Kenneth hit a different region of the country, further exacerbating recovery efforts and affecting another 374,000 people. With close to 300,000 homes damaged, more than 100 health facilities impacted, and close to 7,000 cases of cholera reported, many international organizations have called the “massive disaster” the worst weather-related crisis to ever hit the southern hemisphere.

IsraAID’s Emergency Response Team arrived on March 23 to assist with relief efforts. IsraAID deployed a medical team; Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) specialists; psychosocial support (PSS) professionals; and Protection coordinators. With some 600 schools damaged by the storm and 335,000 children affected, communities urgently needed support in their transition back to normalcy and long-term, sustainable resilience.

IsraAID’s medical team partnered with local service providers and aid actors to meet immediate needs in Nhamatanda, the Beira hospital, and at the Beira cholera center. The team also distributed relief items, including basic hygiene packages to families living in temporary conditions and struggling with limited resources. Hygiene kits included items such as toilet paper, adult and child-sized toothbrushes, body soap, menstrual hygiene products, mosquito nets, dish soap, and sponges for cleaning.

The hurricane left an overwhelming dearth in safe water and sanitation in its wake. IsraAID’s WASH staff distributed Sawyer Water Filters - which can provide safe water for a family for up to 3 months - as well as NUF filters that can serve a larger community for a longer period. The distribution of these filters, coupled with community outreach efforts, helped to combat the spread of disease and potential for a secondary crisis.

IsraAID’s PSS specialists worked in evacuation centers, offering trauma prevention activities, resilience building workshops, and Psychological First Aid. They also addressed psychosocial needs in the Mozambican education system, aiming to bolster community resilience and emergency preparedness.

For IsraAID, it is essential to establish open communication with beneficiaries, seeking to identify the community’s needs rather than assuming what those needs are. This approach is critical to IsraAID’s goal of prioritizing people and building relationships within the community. Social Worker & IsraAID Protection Specialist Sivan Ayash shared this conviction while leading trainings in Beira. As a participant from one of her trainings said: “I see how much money the international organizations bring here. That is not what we need. I believe that no money or material help would have given me the tools I developed in this training. I am looking forward to going back to help everywhere I can.”

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Organization Information


Location: Tel Aviv, Merkaz - Israel
Project Leader:
Ethan Schwartz
Tel Aviv, Merkaz Israel

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