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Send help to children affected by Cyclone Idai – one of the worst disasters to ever hit Southern Africa. Heavy rains and flooding in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe continue to threaten 3 million people – half of them children. UNICEF is on the ground to provide life-saving help to children in need.

UNICEF Canada President and CEO David Morley speaks on UNICEF's support after Cyclone Idai with Lisa LaFlamme on CTV National News.

Cyclone Idai – What is the impact on children?

Families in Southern Africa are still struggling to survive in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, which made landfall at the port city of Beira, Mozambique, on March 14. Almost 3 million people have been affected in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe – half of them are children.

Mozambique has been hit hardest. An estimated 1.8 million people are affected. UNICEF has declared it a Level-3 emergency -- its highest-ranking -- and issued a global appeal for US$122 million to support the response to Cyclone Idai.

UNICEF mobilized quickly to reach vulnerable children, coordinating its response with other UN organizations and partners in the region to deliver life-saving emergency supplies. 

How is UNICEF helping children?

Providing access to safe water and sanitation

In hard-hit city of Beira, Mozambique, poor water access and hygiene conditions, is putting children at risk of diseases such as cholera, malaria and diarrhoea.

Safe drinking water is essential to prevent the spread of illness. On March 26, UNICEF, with support of the UK government, led the repairs to the water supply systems in Beira and is working to rehabilitate water systems in other parts of the disaster zone.

Cholera treatment centers have been set up in strategic areas. UNICEF is implementing a program to immunize 900,000 people against cholera in Mozambique. Read more on UNICEF’s response.

Getting medical supplies to affected regions 

  • In Malawi, thousands of families have been forced from their flooded homes and many lack basic needs, including food, water and sanitation facilities. UNICEF supplies –including oral rehydration salts, antibiotics and insecticide-treated bednets – are arriving in southern Malawi for families who lost their homes and are living in evacuation centres.   
  • In Zimbabwe, UNICEF is delivering medical supplies, hygiene kits, jerry cans, soap and water treatment tablets. UNICEF and its partners are working hard to overcome transportation obstacles to reach affected communities, including airlifts to deliver life-saving supplies to areas cut off by damaged roads and bridges. 

Providing protection and support for children  

UNICEF is deploying tents to affected districts to shelter displaced people who have largely sought refuge in school buildings. The tents will free up classrooms, allowing students to return to their lessons and resume a sense of normalcy. Furthermore, UNICEF is shipping schools in a box kits, recreational kits,  blackboards and Early Childhood Development kits  for children in the displacement camps.

Children and their families need urgent help now. They need safe drinking water, health supplies and emergency shelter 

Lives of already vulnerable children have come to a hard stop. Homes and schools are destroyed. Roads and bridges have been washed away. The next few days are crucial. 

Our full focus is on protecting the hundreds of thousands of children hit hardest by this cyclone and its ferocious flooding. While families and communities do everything in their power to cope with the crisis, the sheer scale requires outside support. As such UNICEF is delivering life-saving food, clean water, and medicines. We know the coming hours and days are critical, and UNICEF will continue to work 24/7 to support those most in need.

James Elder, UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa

In Bangula, children displaced by Cyclone Idai gather in a UNICEF camp.
In Bangula, children displaced from their homes gather in a UNICEF camp.

How you can help

The coming days will be crucial for many children and their family. The full extent of the devastation of Cyclone Idai is still uncertain. What we do know is that thanks to your online donation, UNICEF can be there for every child with life-saving emergency supplies in the first hours after an emergency happens.