Africa’s Katrina

March 21, 2019


It’s going to be a long century.

Jeff Masters in Weather Underground:

Over 400 are dead and countless more are at grave risk, huddled on rooftops or clinging to trees, in the horrifying aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. In scenes reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, aerial survey teams photographed thousands of marooned people in the “inland ocean” up to 30 miles wide that heavy rains from Idai have created in central Mozambique.


Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall on Thursday evening as a Category 2 storm with 110 mph winds just north of Beira, Mozambique (population 530,000) near the time of high tide, driving a devastating storm surge into the city. The cyclone also caused enormous wind damage, ripping off hundreds of roofs in Mozambique’s fourth largest city. Since the cyclone was large and moving slowly at landfall, near 6 mph, it was a prodigious rainmaker, with satellite-estimated rainfall amounts in excess of 2 feet in much of central Mozambique. Idai stalled and died over the high terrain along the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border on Saturday, but Idai’s remains hovered over the region through Tuesday, bringing additional heavy rains–over a foot in eastern Zimbabwe. Runoff from these rains have submerged huge portions of central Mozambique. Damage to improverished Mozambique, whose GDP is just $12 billion, will be many billions of dollars and take more than five years to recover from.

Over 400 deaths have been officially attributed to the storm, including the 122 deaths that occurred in northern Mozambique and southern Malawi in early March from the tropical disturbance that eventually became Idai. The subsequent landfall of Idai is being blamed for 202 deaths in Mozambique, 102 deaths in Zimbabwe, 7 in South Africa, and 3 in Madagascar. President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique said he expects the toll to exceed 1000 in that nation, which would make it their deadliest storm on record.

Officials in Zimbabwe said they expect the death toll to reach 350 there. According to EM-DAT, this would be the deadliest flood on record for Zimbabwe, exceeding the toll of 251 in January 2017 from Tropical Cyclone Dineo.



Thousands of people, some seen clinging to rooftops and tree branches, still await rescue from rising floodwaters in Mozambique, one week after an intense tropical cyclone walloped the southeast African nation.

Nearly 350,000 others are at risk of becoming trapped in the coming days as remnants of tropical cyclone Idai dump rain over low-lying areas already inundated with swelling rivers and bulging dams.

Some 100,000 people may need to be rescued from the town of Buzi alone, according to a spokesman for Mozambique’s Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development.

“We have a critical situation in Buzi,” the spokesman, who asked not to be named, told ABC News via telephone Thursday. “If the rainfall increases, then those 100,000 need to be rescued. Levels of the dam are going high.”

The heavy rain let up in Buzi and the hard-hit port city of Beira on Thursday, but showers are expected to return in the coming hours and days. Aid agencies worry additional rainfall will impede rescue missions.


How to help

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the United Nations, and Save the Childrenhave targeted donation links so you can help provide food, medical supplies, and shelter to victims of Idai in Mozambique. The United Nations says that more than 2.6 million people are in need of immediate assistance.

One Response to “Africa’s Katrina”

  1. indy222 Says:

    The danger is that this increasing rate of disasters of Biblical proportions become just another news item for page 5 as they lose their “500 year flood” psychological impact, since now they’re “2 year floods”. Just like we’re becoming numb to the math-defying blizzard of lies coming out of our President. Now, it’s just….. another day, another 2 dozen lies.

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