It has been one year since Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi affecting over three million people across the three southern African countries. Over a thousand people lost their lives as flood waters swept their homes away.
While other disaster response teams provided much needed emergency aid in the form of shelter and food, water and medical intervention, the ICRC’s forensics team had the arduous task of recovering the dead and helping with safe and dignified burials.
In the immediate aftermath, the ICRC distributed shelter kits, blankets and food in coordination with the World Food Programme to meet the most urgent needs. The organization also distributed seeds and agricultural tools to help families replant their crops in order to sustain themselves in the long term. Health centres and prisons affected by the floods were rehabilitated and water supply was restored to communities cut off from access.
The forensics team worked with local authorities to promote best practice on standardized data collection of the missing and dead and supported the Mozambican forensic authorities to draft contingency plans on safe and dignified burials.
One year on, the ICRC accompanied some of the families that lost their relatives as they visited the graves of their loved ones to pay their respects.