Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi were hit by Cyclone Idai, last week. According to the United Nations and the governments of the three countries, there have been already more than 1,5 million people affected by this tragedy. At least 135 have died, there are hundreds missing and thousands left homeless, especially in rural zones, as it’s been stated by officials.
The cyclone made landfall at the city of Beira, one of Mozambique’s largest cities, on Thursday, with winds of up to 177km/h, and then moved towards Zimbabwe and Malawi, destroying houses, schools, businesses, hospitals and police stations on its way. Thousands of people were marooned by the heavy flooding and abandoned their possessions to seek safety on higher ground.
Most of the deaths were caused by the collapse of houses and other structures, and drownings, according to information released by state television. United Nations agencies and the Red Cross were helping with rescue efforts, including delivering food supplies and medicines by helicopter. However, rescue teams have seen their work affected due to an electricity cut and communication problems.
The port city of Beira was hit the hardest, and more than 400 injured people were treated in its hospital since Thursday night, as stated by a source of that unit. One of the largest cities in Mozambique, with over half a million residents, had its airport closed, electricity cut, and many homes destroyed.
The United Nations estimate that 60 thousand people were affected in the north and center of Mozambique, either by losing their homes, food and goods, or by losing access to fields of cultivation and basic services. The official number of victims is yet to be determined, since there are places which are difficult to reach due to rising river levels.
In Mozambique, died at least 48 people, according to the last numbers updated by authorities on Saturday’s afternoon. Information released by the provincial government revealed that, even though Beira was half destroyed, there were only a total of 13 dead, comparing to the central province, Sofala, with a total of 19 dead and 70 injured, since Thursday night.
Thousands of people were also affected in Zimbabwe, electricity cut, and main roads and bridges were swept away, slowing rescue efforts by the military, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, indicated Nick Mangwana, Ministry of Information.
Govt wishes to discourage any efforts to cross flooded rivers by individuals. We are receiving tragic reports of some people being swept away. We urge patience as rescue is on its way. Let us not have avoidable loss of human life. We have lost 31 Zimbabweans to #CycloneIdai
The government says that 31 people have died from the floods and Zimbabwe’s state-run television station (ZBC) reported that 150 people are missing. According to a statement Joshua Sacco gave to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), 25 houses were destroyed due to a landslide in the city of Ngangu, Chimanimani, with people inside that are now missing.
Most of the deaths occurred in Chimanimani, a mountainous touristic area along the eastern border with Mozambique. The Ministry of Information stated that no tourists died due to the storm.
Dozens of children were asleep in their dormitory when rocks swept down a mountain and knocked over a wall. Two of the students have been killed and the Zimbabwean military was trying to rescue the 197 other students at the school, but unsafe conditions were forcing the soldiers to go by ground rather than attempt an air rescue, Nick Mangwana said.
According to the latest assessment by the Department of Risk Management, at least 56 people have died in Malawi and 80 thousand are displaced. Aircraft and 10 medical personnel were sent by the South Africa’s military, in order to help rescue teams in Mozambique and Malawi, it said in a statement on Saturday.
Floods in #Malawi has left thousands displaced. Communities are now facing a second threat of flash floods following #CycloneIdai. @MalawiRedCross is providing critical life-saving relief items and ensuring communities are evacuated safely. Hear from @tmarki on the ground: https://t.co/50jrsvjxdW