Cyclone rage in Southern Africa: Zimbabwe and Mozambique hit
Within two days, tropical storm has swept away bridges and homes, killing dozens and displacing thousands of people in Southern Africa countries of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
On Saturday, in eastern Zimbabwe, Cyclone Idai cut off power and communications in parts of Manicaland province on the border with Mozambique. Some 40 people are missing, killing at least 24 people, officials say.
People fled from their homes to the slopes of mountain and were waiting to be rescued, but strong winds have hampered helicopter flights.
In Mozambique’s city of Beira, Cyclone Idai made landfall on Thursday, at least 19 people died. Thousands of people living in one of Mozambique’s largest cities have been cut off by a huge storm.
Beira is the fourth-largest city in Mozambique and its port sits on the mouth of the Pungwe river, that runs to Zimbabwe.
Flooding across the rest of the country had already killed nearly 70 people before the storm’s arrival.
Zimbabwe’s information ministry said the town of Chimanimani had been cut from the rest of Manicaland province. The country’s national army was leading the rescue efforts, it added.
Cyclone Idai, which is carrying heavy rains and winds of up to 177 km/h (106 mph), made landfall at the port city of Beira on Thursday evening.
Its 500,000 residents are now without electricity and communications have been severed, the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) says.
The cyclone has now moved west towards Zimbabwe.
It follows a week of storms and heavy rains in in Mozambique and Malawi that have killed more than 100 people and destroyed thousands of homes.
President Filipe Nyusi says his government is “doing all we can to ensure that the situation returns to normal in all spheres”.
The cyclone hit Mozambique with winds of up to 177km/h (106 mph). It cut off more than 500,000 residents in the port city of Beira, one the country’s largest cities. Roads were flooded and the airport was shut down.
Mozambique has been struck by severe cyclones in the past, including Eline in 2000, when 350 people died and 650,000 were displaced across the wider region.
Beira has often seen the worst of the storms and has worked to limit the effects of rising waters brought about by climate change through a series of infrastructure projects.