12 months on: Our values in action in the Cyclone Idai response

Cyclone Idai was one of the worst ever recorded tropical cyclones to strike Africa, making landfall in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia in March 2020. It caused catastrophic damage and humanitarian crises in an already food insecure region. Twelve months on we look at how two Integral Alliance Members have been able to respond more effectively by working together. Through their collaboration they have provided a more complete response to the needs of those we serve. In our values we call this ‘complementarity’…

Photo: The shipment of medical aid arriving in Malawi to support the response following the cyclone. International Health Partners

Integral Alliance Member, World Relief has worked in Malawi for almost thirty years. When Cyclone Idai hit, they launched a response in two areas of southern Malawi, both affected by the Cyclone: Machinga district on the border of Mozambique to the east, and Chikwawa district, on the western border. 

In Machinga, World Relief distributed a range of items including food (maize, flour, oil, soya beans, sugar) and non-food items (buckets, tarpaulins, blankets, plastic cups), to 340 affected households. They also identified health centres struggling to provide vital medicines needed by the community. As a result, fellow Integral Alliance Member International Health Partners (IHP) were able to step in to provide Essential Health Packs to World Relief, who were then able to supply those health centres with essential medicines. 

Alinafe, the Disaster Response Coordinator for WR Malawi, shares with us the importance of receiving medicines from IHP following the devastating cyclone: “It is not unusual in Malawi to run out of essential drugs in our public hospitals, but when there has been a disaster this is a serious problem as many people come seeking treatment. It is of paramount importance that our hospitals have the drugs, especially the basic ones, like paracetamol and antibiotics, because following a cyclone, many people suffer from infections, pneumonia and diarrhoea.”

Louise, Director of Programmes at IHP, explains, “Through our Integral partnership with World Relief, we were able to deliver medicines to the Ntaja Health Centre and the Chikawa District Hospital.  These packs contain basic medicines such as antibiotics and analgesics. They enable doctors and healthcare professionals to meet needs with reliable medicines in places where people can’t otherwise obtain them.”

Ntaja Health Centre saw a rise in people attending the clinic for treatment in the aftermath of the disaster. Edwin, health officer in charge at the Ntaja Health Centre, said: “The arrival of the shipment of medicines was a big helping hand to both the facility and the community. This community was deeply affected by the disaster. These drugs helped us treat those affected. We greatly appreciate the help.” 

This kind of collaboration is at the heart of Integral’s vision. We believe that when our Members combine their strengths and work in a complementary way we have greater reach and impact. 

Eighteen Integral Alliance Members worked together to respond to Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. 

Complementarity is one of Integral’s values. You can find all of our values here.

Please see here for an infographic of our Cycone Idaid response 12 months on.