Tropical Cyclone Idai has already killed 111 people in Mozambique and Malawi – and has yet to make landfall. Severe flooding has led to the Government of Malawi declaring a state of emergency due in 13 districts. Over 140,000 people are displaced in the region. The weather is expected to worsen as the cyclone reaches land later today.

In addition to high winds, heavy rain and flooding, a storm surge of up to three metres is expected. This could have devastating consequences for low-lying coastal towns and cities.

Travel advice

This weather front is likely to have a massive and very damaging impact. Please prepare as best you can, and try to limit the demands you make on local resources and responders. Be prepared to help other as soon as it is safe to do so. 

If you are in the region – 

  • Monitor the local weather forecast. Use a couple of different apps and/or websites to get information from multiple sources.  
  • Look up and save contact details for your local embassy or consular services, and emergency services (different branches may have different numbers). For all contact information, make sure you make a note of it in an offline location too – you may need to make a call from a payphone or landline after your phone battery has died.
  • Make sure you have your travel insurance information to hand and know when to call. If you have booked your trip through a travel agent or a tour company, keep that information stored safely too. 
  • Stay indoors – damaged buildings continue to post a threat. Downed power lines can be deadly.
  • Let people know where you are – friends and family, the local consulate, your travel agent/tour company, etc.
  • If you are likely to be making a claim on your travel insurance, review the documents so you know what information you will need and what the process for making a claim is.
  • Monitor local media.
  • Keep mobile devices charged. 
  • Put aside a storm kit to help you wait out the worst of the weather. Include food that will not spoil and bottled drinking water, candles and matches, a first aid kit, medication, torch, phone charge, batteries, cash.
  • Know what form evacuation notices will take – siren, police announcement, text message, etc – and be prepared to comply with them. Put together a grab bag that contains ID, travel documents, insurance information, medication, snacks and a bottle of water. 
  • Comply with advice from the local authorities. 
  • Be prepared for delays and disruption.
  • If something bad happens, check in with your local embassy as soon as it is safe to do so. 

If you are heading to the region soon – 

  • Check in with your airline and travel agent to find out if your trip will be impacted. 
  • Monitor media reports.
  • Talk to your travel insurance provider to check what is/is not covered, and plan accordingly. 

Official travel advice

Malawi

From the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Latest update: Summary – addition of information and advice following heavy flooding in southern Malawi; Tropical Cyclone Idai is forecast to make landfall from the Mozambique channel around 15 March and may bring further strong winds and heavy rain to parts of southern Malawi between 15 and 19 March; if travelling to affected regions, you should take extra care, monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation and follow any advice given by the local authorities.

from Travel Advice Summary, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malawi

Mozambique

From the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Latest update: Summary – Tropical Cyclone Idai is expected to make landfall near the port of Beira in Mozambique late Thursday 14 March or early Friday 15 March; you should monitor local and international weather updates and follow any advice from local authorities.

from Travel Advice Summary, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mozambique

Further news and information

 

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