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Zimbabwe village struggles in aftermath of Idai

Adeline Banhwa and her child are preparing to leave their Ngangu home. The destruction caused by Cyclone Idai can be seen in the background. Photo: Eli Josef-Westermann

April 10, 2019

By Mike Ziemerink

Three weeks after Cyclone Idai ripped through Ngangu village in Zimbabwe, residents are still coming to terms with the devastation.

Humanitarian Coalition Cyclone Idai Joint Appeal ends April 14, give to PWRDF emergency response today

Ulli Westermann, a development professional who used to work in the region in the ’80s, visited the village March 29. He saw people searching through the ocean of debris for anything salvageable. A huge log was blocking the home of Baba Muhamba. He slowly sawed away, equipped with only a handsaw. The village’s sanitation system was completely destroyed so people were going down to the tar road – now a running stream of unsafe water – to wash their bodies and clothes. Access to clean drinking water was also scarce.

Westermann spoke with Adeline Banhwa, a liaison officer with a local NGO. The night of the cyclone, a mudslide sent a huge boulder through her family’s home. They were evacuated to the local school, but returned home a few days later because of the unbearable sanitation situation at the school. Now they were preparing to leave their home.

“Here, we are living in a graveyard,” Banhwa told Westermann. As they spoke, another body was found just 50 meters away. Sniffer dogs were still finding bodies daily, even weeks after the cyclone.

PWRDF partner TSURO Trust has been delivering supplies Kopa (Rusitu), Cashel, Charleswood, Biiri and other places that are often not reached by the World Food Programme and UN. For these, the army is now in charge of distribution.

Relief consignments donated through Miracle Missions and the International Relief Committee, as well as emergency support through TSURO’s funding partners, including PWRDF, have allowed for lifesaving responses in these hard hit areas.

A local resident, Baba Machingauta, said he was thankful TSURO was being so transparent in the relief food distribution, which is being done according to the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) schedule.

-with files from Richard Librock

How you can help

The Government of Canada will match donations made between March 15 and April 14, 2019 to the Humanitarian Coalition Cyclone Idai joint appeal. PWRDF is participating in the match through Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a member of the Humanitarian Coalition. Donate to Cyclone Idai Emergency Response:

  • On your cell phone – text ‘PWRDF’ to 45678
  • Online – at and choose Emergency Response
  • Telephone – call toll-free at 1-866-308-7973
  • Mail – send a cheque marked Cyclone Relief to:
    The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
    80 Hayden Street, 3rd floor
    Toronto, Ontario
    M4Y 3G2
  • Download and share this emergency response bulletin with your parish or community.