Tropical cyclones are rapidly-rotating storm systems that rotate (counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere) around a low pressure centre. They are generally slow moving but severe, with winds of between 120-320 kilometres an hour. They have different names depending on where they happen: cyclones in Southeast Asian waters and the Indian Ocean, typhoons in East Asian and Pacific waters and hurricanes in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean sea. Most cyclone-related deaths are from flooding, but also from electrocution, collapsed structures and blowing debris.


Houses are completely destroyed in Praia Nova, Mozambique following Cyclone Idai in March 2019

Emergency appeals

Do you know how to prepare for a cyclone?

Do's and don'ts

  • Prepare an evacuation plan, route and mode of transport
  • Build and maintain your home with severe cyclones in mind
  • Don't assume if it's calm the danger has passed, you could be in the cyclone's eye
  • Work with your community to identify shelters and store provisions
  • Keep trees and bushes well trimmed
  • Keep your vehicle fuel tank filled in case of evacuation
  • Follow official advisories such as cyclone watches and warnings
  • Stay out of the way of damaged buildings and hazards
  • Give first aid where appropriate and safe to do so
  • Don't leave animals outside, take them with you or move them inside

Watch: how to prepare for a hurricane, cyclone or typhoon