South African Ubuntu Needed as Cyclone Idai Death Toll Passes 1,000

Hundreds of thousands of people are still in need of aid after Cyclone Idai battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in March.

People walk through floodwater near Beira, Mozambique, in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

More than 1,000 people have been reported killed by the storm, the flooding it caused and heavy rains before it hit. The World Bank estimates the affected countries will need over $2 billion to recover.

South Africa’s Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has encouraged South Africans to assist victims affected by Cyclone Idai in the three countries.

In the spirit of Ubuntu, let us do our part in rebuilding

“In the spirit of Ubuntu, let us do our part in rebuilding the affected communities,” Mthethwa said.

The Minister made the call alongside African Artists, on Tuesday in Tshwane, during a media briefing which outlined support towards the victims of the cyclone.

Support includes:

  • a benefit concert targeted for 18 May as a daytime family concert to take place at Bez Valley Park
  • a collection drive in the department offices across all provinces
  • mobilizing the SA public to donate non-perishable food items, clothing, potable water, sanitation, toys and medical support
  • dedicating the launch of Africa Month, at the start of May, to Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique
  • making more announcement during the SAMA nominees’ announcement on 25 April
  • visiting the three countries’ embassies, followed by an aid tour with artists and media, where those involved in the project will get to lend a hand on the ground by rolling up their sleeves and helping distribute aid and rebuild communities
  • a tree planting campaign is geared for 1 July 2019 as part of International Reggae Day

The Minister also applauded South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in their efforts to help those who are in need of clean clothes and food.

“We recognize the efforts of the Department of Health in donating medical supplies.

“We thank the international community and non-governmental organisations from all over the world for responding to the crisis faced by our neighbouring countries.

“We also recognise the efforts of ordinary South Africans who have made donations in assisting our brothers and sisters,” he said.

Image Credit: FB@sanewsgovza

United Nations recognises brave South African team

The United Nations also recognised a team of 16 South African emergency workers for their incredible efforts in Mozambique when they were the first on the ground after the cyclone hit.

The team includes Rescue SA members, ER24 members, SAPS search and rescue team members and South Africans from the University of Johannesburg, and the Durban University of Technology.

Each received a letter of commendation from the UN!

Outline of the disaster, according to government and U.N. officials:


Cyclone Idai made landfall on the night of March 14, near the port city of Beira, bringing heavy winds and rains. Two major rivers, the Buzi and the Pungue, burst their banks, submerging villages and leaving bodies floating in the water.

People killed: 602

People injured: 1,641

Houses damaged or destroyed: 239,682

Crops damaged: 715,378 hectares

People affected: 1.85 million

Confirmed cholera cases: 4,979

Confirmed cholera deaths: 8


On March 16, the storm hit eastern Zimbabwe, where it flattened homes and flooded communities in the Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.

People killed: 344

People injured: 200

People displaced: 16,000 households

People affected: 250,000


Before it arrived, the storm brought heavy rains and flooding to the lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje in Malawi’s south. The rains continued after the storm hit, compounding the misery of tens of thousands of people.

People killed: 60

People injured: 672

People displaced: 19,328 households

People affected: 868,895

Sources: SANews and Reuters. (Outline of Disaster compiled by Reuters’ Emma Rumney with Editing by Alison Williams)

WATCH Cyclone Idai – surviving the aftermath

South Africa’s current affair’s show Carte Blanche (available to expats here) visited the port city of Beira to witness first-hand the impact on our neighbours and meet aid workers who have worked non-stop to rescue and assist victims…