Cyclone Idai leaves trail of destruction in Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, killing 140

Sergio Conner
March 16, 2019

At least 19 people died in Mozambique, according to the government, while a further 24 perished in Zimbabwe, state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported.

One school has been shut in the area and students were waiting to be airlifted to safety.

Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Mike Madiro said rescue operations continue in search of the over 70 people who remain missing.

The storm hit Beira late on Thursday and moved westwards into Zimbabwe and Malawi, affecting thousands more, particularly in eastern areas bordering Mozambique.

"The information we have so far is that over 100 people are missing and some of them" may have died, Joshua Sacco, a member of parliament in Chimanimani district, told AFP. Around 100 houses had been swept away in Ngangu township in Chimanimani town, he said.

Central Mozambique has been struck by a deadly cyclone, with heavy rain and winds reaching up to 105mph (170km/h).

Cyclone Idai cut off power and communications in parts of Manicaland province on the border with Mozambique.

Meanwhile a spokesman for Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, Jacob Mafume, tweeted that a "serious humanitarian crisis" is unfolding in the country's eastern districts.

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Heavy downpours in neighbouring Malawi this week have affected nearly a million people and claimed 56 lives there, according to the latest government toll.

The WMO said the storm packed winds of 103 miles per hour and there was fear that it could hit Beira at the same time as high tide, which would worsen the flooding situation there.

"We have compatriots suffering without hope and we have to restore hope", he said on Friday as he set off on a three-day state visit to the kingdom that was previously known as Swaziland.

An official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) of Mozambique told AFP on Friday "there is extreme havoc".

South Africa's power utility company Eskom on Saturday introduced electricity rationing "due to the loss of additional capacity, which includes a reduction in imports from Mozambique", it said in a statement.

Hundreds were left stranded at Mozambique's Maputo International Airport when the country's national airline carrier LAM canceled all of its lights to Beira and Quelimane on Wednesday.

"The runway is full of obstacles and parked aircrafts are damaged".

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