17 March 2019

Southern Africa: 73 Dead in Cyclone Idai Trail of Destruction

Photo: PHOTOESSAY: Death, Destruction After Cyclone Idai's Rampage Through Mozambique

More than a thousand people are feared to have died in a cyclone that smashed into Mozambique, while scores were killed and more than 200 are missing in neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Maputo — THE Tropical Cyclone Idai sweeping through Southern Africa has left at least 173 people killed in the region.

Mozambique has been worst affected by the deadly storms, with some 85 casualties reported.

Zimbabwe has the second highest death toll amid weekend reports that at least 31 people were killed and about 40 others are missing as a result of the storms with more than others displaced.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society has deployed its volunteers to support affected communities in the eastern Chipinge and Chimanimani.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said the rest of the deaths were in Madagascar, Malawi and South Africa, where at least four people have died.

United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, sent his condolences.

"The Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the loss of life, destruction of property and displacement of people due to the heavy rains and flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai," he stated.

The cyclone made landfall on Thursday close to Beira, the Mozambican city.

It peaked at winds of 195 kilometres per hour.

Speaking Beira, Jamie LeSueur, Head of Emergency Operations for IFRC, said many parts of the city had been seriously damaged.

"Houses have been destroyed. Trees and electric poles have fallen. Electricity and communications have been cut," LeSueur lamented.

In Mozambique, the floods have affected 117 000 people. In Malawi, nearly 1 million people have been affected.

The fatal cyclone is the strongest such tragedy to strike after Cyclone Jokwe hit Mozambique in 2008.

Jokwe left 123 people dead.

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