Canadians’ support shines through after Cyclone Idai

On March 15, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe were swept up in one of Southern Africa’s most devastating recent disasters: Cyclone Idai. Gale-force winds and fierce floods combined to demolish buildings and roads, drown crops and affect nearly 3 million people across the region – taking both lives and livelihoods.

But Canadians’ support was also a powerful force, which helped provide critically-needed aid.

Today, 4 months later, new hope is on the horizon for over 631,000 people Canadian donors have already helped reach – with thousands more receiving ongoing assistance from Plan International.

Thank you to all who unleashed the power of compassion by helping donate to the relief efforts.

With donors’ support, Plan International has already helped:

Distribute 160,000 bed nets to prevent the spread of malaria in flood-affected areas.
“This net is my life,” 15-year-old Tanaka thanks. “It will protect me from catching malaria.”

Plan staff show a family how to set up their new bed net.

Deliver life-saving food provisions like fish and maize, as well as funds to 24,700 households.

A woman receives food provisions from a Plan International aid worker.

Pipe clean water to a town of 20,000 people whose water system was wiped out.
"My four children would have contracted disease was it not for Plan International providing us with clean water here,” says Tsitsi as she collects water at the new tap. “I am truly grateful!"

Women work together to collect water at Plan’s new tap.

Rescue 800 people by boat who were left stranded on trees and rooftops above rushing rivers for four days. “I was so happy that help was finally coming,” Amela recalls, filled with emotion, from the safety of a temporary camp sheltering those displaced by the storm.

Cyclone Idai survivors rescued by boat.

Establish child-friendly safe spaces where close to 7,000 children can play and recover in peace and protection.

2 young boys dance at the centre of a dancing circle in a child friendly safe space.

Provide over 5 tonnes of tarps to help keep the hardest hit families warm, dry and safe. “The tarps will help families reconstruct their homes and start over,” a local Plan International staff member explains. “After helping the survivors, we will assist schools so education can resume.”

Stacks of tarps from Plan International on their way to help.

Everyone has been chipping in to help, even those affected themselves, like Philip, a brave volunteer. Since being rescued by Plan International from the floods, he’s chosen to now also help distribute relief aid to those in need. He and countless other courageous staff and community volunteers have helped supply girls and women with dignity kits stocked with menstrual products, soap and hygiene and sanitation essentials.

A young woman receives a hygiene kit from a proud Plan staff.
“I am happy to help with the distribution of these items, says Philip, with pride. “They are coming from people who care about us.”

Today, weeks after the storm, Canadians’ care and support has continued to shine through clear – already helping deliver:

  • Over 29,000 relief items like tents, blankets and solar lamps
  • Kits containing key sanitary items to over 5,000 girls and women
  • Water storage and purification supplies to over 640 families.


Women receive hygiene and dignity kits from Plan International.

Thanks to our donors, Plan International has helped protect children’s rights through this devastating time: from immediate needs like food and water to important ongoing opportunities like education – helping ensure no child is left behind, no matter what challenges they face.

Returning to school can help re-establish routine after a traumatic event, offering an important sense of stability to children, and an outlet to push forward in support of their healing. Coupled with psychosocial counselling and cathartic activities, it also keeps them on course to overcome added barriers so they can continue to work towards realizing their full potential.

With the help of our generous donors, Plan International has provided over 14,000 students with school supplies and equipped dozens of schools with shelter reinforcements and water containers – ensuring youth can safely continue to learn and grow.

2 girls laugh while writing something at a temporary learning space.

When disaster strikes, Plan International acts immediately to help reach those in need across the more than 50 developing countries we’ve worked in, for decades. But we couldn’t do it without our donors: our sincere thanks to all who took action to help those affected by Cyclone Idai. By unleashing our power to help in times of great need, the impacted children and families of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have greater chances to unlock their power, defy their circumstances and rebuild a more promising tomorrow, stronger than ever.