2019 – Get ready for Cyclone Idai Posted March 13, 2019 by Adrian Nance


To be effective, you have to get ready: in 2019 it was Cyclone Idai. This post describes how we got ready. Readiness is a key part of our disaster response.

How do we get timely warning?

Lots of people make up the team that gives Wings timely warning of disasters. First, the region needs to prepare for the sort of disaster that might come. Traditionally this is the work of the UN regional office. They look at the trends and look forward. This report is as an example.

Then the weather forecasters are essential. Satellite pictures make this forecasting so much easier than when the CEO was in Mauritius in 1982, directly under a category 4 cyclone, which hit almost without warning.

Getting organised

Getting organised – the right helicopter in the right place.
The star of the team – the Mercy Air Squirrel Helicopter that was to save so many lives.
For this response 50% funded by Wings Like Eagles.

Also Wings Like Eagles holds a helicopter at notice to respond in the traditional disaster season. We also have had relationships with key disaster response people since 2007. Like Mercy Air. Or Mission Aviation Fellowship. Like HoverAid. And many others. Spread around the region. They are on the ground and help us interpret events. Good interpretation helped us get ready for Cyclone Idai.

Then we used our established relationship with Mercy Air to build an effective partnership. Discussions with Mercy Air in Switzerland, bank transfers, and chat with the team from South Africa on the ground . Three of us were among the first into Beira in response to Cyclone IDAI. This took good preparation.

Get ready for Cyclone IDAI – fly out and team up!

Into Tete – helping get ready for Cyclone Idai

Cyclone IDAI was a predicted event. On 13 March our CEO, Adrian Nance, flew out to meet the Mercy Air team in Mozambique. We needed to stay out of the way of the cyclone so we met in Tete, a big coal mining town in the west of the country. It really wasn’t clear what the biggest disaster would be. But having teamed up, we could work together to see where we could help best.

Get ready for Cyclone Idai – team up!

Good teams are so important to disaster response. We first worked with Mercy Air in 2007 in our first response. You can read about it here. Those links continue today. They make us so effective. They helped us get ready for Cyclone IDAI. Here’s the Mercy Air engineer Philip, Wings’ CEO and the Mercy Air pilot on a life changing touk-touk taxi ride in Tete as we got to ready to respond. It may look silly. But it was an amazing ride, weaving in and out of the people and pot holes. And it acted like a big trust building exercise for us as a team. And good teams can do so much more. They can make the difference between life and death.

Help us get ready for the next disaster

Do you want to help us get ready for the next disaster? Why not become a regular donor to Wings Like Eagles? We have a proven track record. Responding in Mozambique over 10 years. Why not explore this site, and see what we do.

To help you decide we publish our annual reports so that you read what we have done. Also you can contact us if you want.

Why not help us make rapid responses to the needy? Being ready for Cyclone Idai meant we could provide immediate life-saving to the 1.8 million people affected. Why not become a regular donor?