The storm which brought floodwater and widespread destruction to Mozambique and Malawi has reached Zimbabwe – AIWA! NO!
More than 100 people have been killed and 843,000 affected by torrential rains in Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa, the UN and officials said, as tropical cyclone Idai is expected to hit the continent’s south-eastern countries.
Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in the three southern African countries, according to the United Nations and government officials.
At least 66 people in Mozambique, and four in South Africa were killed, after heavy rains caused flash flooding.
In neighbouring Malawi, the death toll rose to 56, an official said on Wednesday, with the country on high alert for cyclone Idai, which is expected to make landfall on Thursday or Friday.
Almost 83,000 people have been displaced in the country since storms began more than a week ago, causing rivers to break their banks, leaving villages underwater, and knocking out power and water supplies in some areas.
At least 31 people have been killed and dozens are missing in parts of eastern Zimbabwe after the country was hit by tropical cyclone Idai which lashed neighbouring Mozambique and Malawi, the government said.
Homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and police stations have been destroyed. Roads have been washed away and thousands are stranded by heavy flooding.
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Information said on Saturday that the deaths were mainly from Chimanimani East, including two students, while at least 40 other people have been injured.
It added that the Zimbabwean national army was leading rescue efforts to airlift students from a damaged school and others trapped by the storm. READ MORE
A group of people, who fled their homes, was “marooned” on top of a mountain waiting to be rescued, but strong winds were hampering helicopter flights, the ministry said.
Joshua Sacco, a member of parliament in Chimanimani district, said at least 25 houses were swept away following a mudslide at Ngangu township.
“There were people inside,” he told AFP news agency. “The information we have so far is that over 100 people are missing.”
In a Twitter post, Jacob Mafume, spokesman for Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, warned that there was a “serious humanitarian crisis” unfolding in eastern Zimbabwe districts.
Serious humanitarian crisis unfolding in chimanimani chipinge most of our structures comms are down.We need state intervention on a massive scale to avoid biblical disaster ,homes bridges being washed away lives in danger @hwendec@daddyhop@kwirirayi@firstname.lastname@example.org/QSVEe7yiG7— MDC spokesperson (@JMafume) March 16, 2019
In Mozambique, where Idai made landfall on Thursday, at least 19 people died and about 70 were severely injured. The storm hit with wind gusts of about 160 kilometres per hour, causing ocean waves of up to nine metres high.
Luis Fonseca, a journalist at Lusa News Agency, said that the cyclone was expected to dissipate on Saturday in Mozambique, but it would continue to create trouble.READ MORE
“The problem now is that the rivers are likely to flood all the areas around, and this will cause even more damage to all these families which have [already] lost their houses.”
“Now they risk losing their harvest and food insecurity is the next big risk in all over this area,” Fonseca explains.
Local officials in Mozambique said that heavy rains earlier in the week, before the cyclone struck, had already claimed another 66 lives, injured scores and displaced 17,000 people.
When the cyclone hit Mozambique, authorities were forced to close the international airport in the port city of Beira after the air traffic control tower, the navigation systems and the runways were damaged by the storm.
An official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) of Mozambique told AFP on Friday “there is extreme havoc”.
“Some runway lights were damaged, the navigation system is damaged, the control tower antennas and the control tower itself are all damaged.”
“The runway is full of obstacles and parked aircraft are damaged.”
Heavy downpours in neighbouring Malawi this week have also affected almost a million people and claimed 56 lives there, according to the latest government toll.
South Africa‘s military has sent in aircraft and 10 medical personnel to help in Mozambique and Malawi, it said in a statement on Saturday.