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Cyclone Idai is causing devastation in CAMFED partner communities in rural areas of Malawi and Zimbabwe. The onset of the tropical cyclone on March 14th, combined with already heavy rains in the recent period, has led to severe flooding and serious destruction across these countries, as well as in Mozambique. Homes have been destroyed, businesses swept away, and schools, boarding facilities and classrooms damaged. Today, CAMFED has launched an urgent appeal to reach women, girls and other community members whose lives and livelihoods are being torn apart by this unfolding disaster.

“Cyclone Idai has been described as the southern hemisphere’s worst such disaster. We must come together to protect those most vulnerable to this catastrophe, and support them to overcome the severe and lasting consequences.” - Harold Kuombola, National Director, CAMFED Malawi

In Malawi, approximately 923,000 people in at least 14 districts, including eight CAMFED partner districts, have been affected. Many of our partner schools are unable to operate either because of direct damage caused by flooding, or because they are being used as shelters for displaced families. Flood waters have damaged or destroyed housing, farmland and livestock. Water supplies have been contaminated by floodwater and the destruction of latrines creates a precarious public health situation.

The eastern part of Zimbabwe has seen significant damage immediately affecting over 12,500 people. As in Malawi, there is widespread destruction of crops and livestock, and power and communications structures are damaged and disrupted: roads and bridges have been washed away.

CAMFED is working to assess the ongoing impact on girls and young women we work with, and ensure a coordinated effort to provide the additional support they will need. Our efforts will focus on supporting the most vulnerable children to continue in education by providing communities with vital food and supplies. We’ll help entrepreneurs rebuild their businesses, who in turn will help their communities to recover from the devastation.

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