Cyclone Idai – One of the Devastating Storm in the History

An Oryx helicopter from the South African National Defence Force flies a relief airdrop mission over the flooded area around Beira, Mozambique, on March 20. International aid agencies raced to rescue survivors and meet spiraling humanitarian needs in three countries battered by Cyclone Idai. (Maryke Vermaak/AFP/Getty Images)

The UN Meteorological Organization has stated ‘Cyclone Idai’ to be one of the most disastrous storms in the world or to be hit in the Southern Hemisphere. Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique, a country in Southern West of Africa. It damaged numerous properties and it is believed that the death toll might rise up to 1000.

Idai hit the region on March 14 and has killed an approximate of 800 people. Thus, turning out to be one of the pernicious storms in the past.


“Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi – Worst Affected”

Since time immemorial, it is largely believed that cyclones are severe winds which have the potential of damaging properties on a large scale along with the destruction of human lives.

Origination

Cyclone Idai originated between Mozambique and Madagascar (between Mozambique channel). It is said that cyclone Idai gained intense severity because it was largely prone to the warm water temperatures.

Cyclone Idai

Timeline

March 3, 2019 – The tropical disturbances intensified around the coast of Africa and thus, formed the development of Cyclone Idai.  

March 5, 2019 – Torrential rains along with flooding began in Mozambique and Malawi.

March 11, 2019 – The storm became much stronger with a tropical depression in coastal Africa and Madagascar.

March 14 to 15, 2019 – Cyclone Idai makes the landfall at Beira and Mozambique with winds that exceeded 105mph.

March 20, 2019 – Amidst heavy rainfall, rescue/search operations, and damage examining were executed.

Mozambique

  • Landfall of cyclone Idai was made on the night of March 14 near to Beira
  • Accompanied by heavy rain and winds
  • An overflow of two major rivers – Pungue and Buzi
  • Numerous nearby villages were completely submerged under water
  • Around 440 killed, 1500 injured, more than 33000 houses were destroyed, 5,00,000 hectares of land was damaged

Zimbabwe

  • Made the landfall on March 16 in Eastern Zimbabwe
  • Affected districts were majorly Chipinge and Chimanimani
  • Around 180 killed, 200 injured, and more than 300 missing
  • An approximate of 16000 properties were damaged and 2,50,500 were severely affected

Malawi

  • Before the onset of a cyclone, the lower area of Shire River, districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa of Southern Malawi was highly affected by heavy rain and wind
  • Around 60 were dead, 672 were injured, and nearly 19300 properties were damaged

Apart from Cyclone Idai, the previous cyclones that shattered the Southern Hemisphere include the one that hit hard the Indonesian Island of Flores (1973). It took the lives of around 1650 people.


Cyclone Idai – A Remorseless One in Terms of Both Death and Destruction

According to the World Food Programme, Cyclone Idai caused disastrous destruction over a large area in Mozambique by creating a flood of up to 6 meters. The worst of the flooding was witnessed in Mozambique wherein downstream rivers flowing from the neighboring countries had a significant contribution. It was also reported that one of the dam burst opened in Mozambique, resulting in the dreadful destruction of buildings, roads, and other buildings. Most of the households that were damaged belonged to the Portuguese colonial style and almost every internet and telecom service was blown off.

The statistics of the death count are likely to be increased in the coming days. The situation at the Cyclone Idai hit regions are catastrophic with no power supply and presence of contaminated water.

Is there a difference between cyclone, typhoon, and hurricanes?

Yes, do not assume that all three are the same. Cyclones are mostly formed in the Indian Ocean, Typhoons get created in the Asia-Pacific region, and Hurricanes are developed in the Atlantic and Caribbean region. But in scientific terms, all the three are well-known as tropical cyclones.