Mozambique was hit by powerful Cyclone Idai more than a week ago. The country has suffered extreme flooding as a result and the death toll has risen about 500. Many experts warn that the death toll will increase.
Zimbabwe and Malawi were also struck by Cyclone Idai, with casualties being reported across the region. At its peak, Cyclone Idai had sustained winds of 120 miles per hour while torrential rainfall has resulted in widespread flooding across the region. Madagascar was also affected but the damage was more limited.
In Mozambique alone, more than 5,000 homes, eight hospitals, and over 900 classrooms have been destroyed. Roughly 420,000 acres of crops have been wiped out by the flooding so far, which could result in widespread food shortages.
President Donald Trump has now directed the American military to provide aid. The move comes three days after Mozambique officially requested aid. U.S. Africa Command has assigned the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa to lead the response. Initial assessments have begun.
Each year, the United States military responds to dozens of disasters around the world. The American military has arguably the most advanced centralized global supply chain and mobilization network in the world and is capable of redirecting supplies and mobilizing manpower quickly. It’s unclear what aid will be provided in Mozambique.
Meanwhile, Indian naval crews have reportedly rescued nearly 200 people and provided assistance to roughly 1,400 others. Three ships, INS Sujata, ICGS Sarathi and INS Shardul, have been operating in Mozambique. Among other things, the ships have been ferrying supplies to Mozambique.