Oxfam Ireland Homepage
  • 2 min read
  • Published: 21st March 2019
  • Press Release by Ben Clancy

Oxfam launches emergency appeal as cyclone leaves hundreds of thousands homeless in southern Africa, with many feared dead

  • Cyclone Idai made landfall on Thursday, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes
  • Oxfam issues urgent appeal to help 775,000 people affected by the disaster

Wednesday 20th March 2019

Oxfam and partners are scaling up their response to urgently reach hundreds of thousands of people after a cyclone, heavy rains and severe flooding devastated regions in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Cyclone Idai made landfall on Thursday (14/03/2019) close to Beira City, in central Mozambique, forcing thousands from their homes and has destroyed much of the region’s infrastructure, making access extremely difficult for those providing humanitarian relief.

Oxfam teams are assessing the needs of people who have been reaching internally displaced persons (IDP) camps by land via boats and the international agency will be prioritising shelter and sanitation in response to the large-scale evacuation.

A longer-term response will take some time to evaluate, but with an estimated 2.6 million people affected across the region, Oxfam is aiming to reach 775,000 people across the three countries. Oxfam is looking to help 525,000 people in Mozambique, 200,000 in Malawi and 50,000 in Zimbabwe.

Oxfam has launched an emergency appeal to meet the immediate needs of those affected by the disaster, with Oxfam Ireland urging the Irish public to donate to its Cyclone Idai Appeal.

Oxfam Ireland’s Chief Executive Jim Clarken said: “The full scale of this disaster is still not known and we need to act now. Oxfam is scaling up its response to reach people with essential aid including shelter packs, ready-to-eat food, water purification kits and hygiene supplies to keep people, who have been forced to flee their homes from devastating flooding, safe and healthy.

“Anyone who has seen the distressing images and videos coming from southern Africa in recent days will know that this is a major disaster and we’re expecting the death toll to rise significantly. The overwhelming amount of water that has collected on land gives us great concern regarding shelter and sanitation as disease will inevitably spread, putting people at an even greater risk.

“In response to what has been described as one of the worst weather-related disasters in the Southern hemisphere, we’re urgently appealing to the public to be generous by donating at oxfamireland.org, or in any of our local shops. Every single donation will go a long way to providing vulnerable people with life-saving support. Thank you.”


Spokespeople are available in the region and in Ireland. For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

ROI: Nyle Lennon, Oxfam Ireland: nyle.lennon@oxfam.org or +353 (0) 83 197 5107

NI: Phillip Graham, Oxfam Ireland: phillip.graham@oxfam.org or +44 (0) 7841 102535