In Photos: Southern Africa Recovers From Twin Cyclones

In March 2019, Cyclone Idai hit the east coast of Africa. It was an unprecedented storm that devastated parts of southern Africa. The cyclone was an added blow to countries already struggling with poverty and food insecurity. Not only did Idai cause massive damage to infrastructure, homes, and farmland, but the storm killed over a thousand people, according to conservative estimates. A true death toll may never be known.

About a month after Idai made landfall, Cyclone Kenneth hit northern Mozambique. The fact that two cyclones hit the area in the same season is remarkable. Resources going toward those who survived Idai were suddenly needed in the north instead. Despite the huge scale of these disasters, to the casual observer, they were only a blip in the international news cycle.

Now, people are trying to rebuild, but they fear future storms – with good reason. The climate is changing and the frequency of unusually severe storms like these are expected to increase.

A river of rocks after a landslide caused by Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe. The landslides destroyed hundreds of homes in a matter of minutes.
John (name has been changed for confidentiality) lost his farm during the floods caused by Cyclone Idai and now lives in a tent far from his original home in Mozambique.
A man looks out at a damaged beach in Beira, Mozambique. A city of more than half a million people and the capital of Mozambique’s Sofala Province, Beira was in the direct path of Cyclone Idai.
People displaced by Cyclone Idai outside of Chimoio desperately cross a river to receive their first food distribution following the storm. More than two months after the cyclone, some Mozambicans who lost their homes and farmland were still searching for ways to feed themselves and their families.
Jocelyn (name changed for confidentiality) is 24 and has five children. They all live together in a tent donated by aid agencies after her home was destroyed by Cyclone Idai in rural Mozambique.
Guara Guara resettlement site in central Mozambique. This is government identified land where people who lost their homes are trying to restart their lives.
Displaced women gather in a resettlement site in central Mozambique.
Bicyclists in the Guara Guara temporary accommodation site in central Mozambique.
During Cyclone Idai, this woman was separated from her husband and climbed up a tree with her children to avoid the floodwaters. She assumes that her husband died, but she never saw his body. She explained that people are traumatized and fear that a storm like Idai will happen again.
Distribution of “dignity kits” in central Mozambique. Dignity kits consist of underwear, sanitary pads, and soap for women and girls.