Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Cyclone Idai hits Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, killing nearly 150

Cyclone Idai hits Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, killing nearly 150

"There were people inside", he told the AFP news agency, saying they were listed as missing.

The United Nations said more than 100 people had already died in weeks of heavy rain and flooding in Mozambique and Malawi.

The storm hit Beira late on Thursday and moved westwards into Zimbabwe and Malawi, affecting thousands more, particularly in eastern areas bordering Mozambique. Around 100 houses had been swept away in Ngangu township in Chimanimani town, he said.

The ministry of information said the Zimbabwean national army was leading the rescue efforts.

Some passengers said, though, that they were unaware of the cancellations until they arrived at the airport attempting to leave.

Tropical cyclone Idai wrought havoc in eastern Zimbabwe after first battering neighbouring Mozambique - where it killed at least 19 people and left half a million people in Beira, one of the largest cities, cut off from the world.

A school in the most severely affected area has closed and children are waiting to be airlifted to safety.

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

Destruction in Mozambique
Cyclone Idai: DEADLY Cyclone Idai strikes central Mozambique - How many have died?

Jacob Mafume, a spokesman of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), warned in a tweet that a "serious humanitarian crisis" is unfolding in the region.

"We need state intervention on a massive scale to avoid biblical disaster", he said.

She said the cyclone which is likely to make land fall in Zambia from 15th - 20th March 2019, will be characterised by high velocity winds, heavy rainfall storms may result in flash and localized floods and debris.

"The situation is dire but we don't know the exact particulars", said Jamie LeSueur, the Red Cross's roving emergency operations manager for Africa, who was making the 1,200-kilometre (745-mile) trip from Maputo to Beira by road after flights were cancelled and the airport closed.

An official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) told AFP earlier that "houses and trees were destroyed and pylons downed".

Power utility Eskom on Saturday bumped up rotational load shedding from Stage 2 to Stage 4 due to a shortage of capacity exacerbated by the loss of 900 MW from Mozambique Fin24 reported.

Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi said the damage is "very worrisome" and said the flooding made it hard for aircraft to land and carry out rescue operations, according to Mozambique's state radio.

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