Updated: March 2, 2021
The death toll from a deadly cyclone that hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe stood at 150 as of Sunday and is expected to increase officials say. Hundreds more are still missing and tens of thousands remain stranded, cut off from roads and telephones in mainly poor, rural areas.
The cyclone, dubbed Idai, has affected more than 1.5 million people in the three southern African countries, according to the United Nations and government officials.
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The port city of Beira in Mozambique was hit the hardest, with the airport closed, electricity cut and many homes destroyed. The storm hit Beira late Thursday and moved west into Zimbabwe and Malawi, affecting thousands more, particularly in areas bordering Mozambique.
Officials have urged the population in the localities to brace up as the cyclone is said to be gearing up to hit again.
Homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and police stations have been destroyed by the cyclone. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (IFRC) described it as “massive and horrifying”.
People have had to be rescued from trees, head of the IFRC assessment team, Jamie LeSeur, told the BBC
President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique said that the damage was “very worrisome” and that the flooding made it difficult for aircraft to land and carry out rescue operations, according to the country’s state-run radio.
At least 126 people are said to have died in Mozambique and Malawi, according to the Red Cross. In Zimbabwe, 89 people have died from the floods, the country’s information ministry said Monday.
UN news reported that “… the Secretary-General is saddened by the loss of life, destruction of property, and displacement of people due to the heavy rains and flooding,” said a statement from António Guterres on Sunday.
‘The United Nations expresses its solidarity with the Zimbabwe authorities and stands ready to work with them as they respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from this disaster,’ Mr. Guterres added.