Filipe Nyusi, president of Mozambique, said Cyclone Idai had caused mass devastation in the African nation. The port city of Beira – with 500,000 people – has been cut off by air and road. Red Cross workers estimate that some 90 per cent of the city has been wrecked. The dangerous cyclone may have killed more than 1,000 people, the country’s president has said.
Filipe Nyusi said Cyclone Idai had caused mass devastation and predicted the current death toll of 150 would rise enormously.
Speaking to state radio after flying over the port city of Beira and viewing the flooding and devastation, Nyusi said he saw bodies floating in the flooded areas.
As the crisis mounted one charity said it was ‘possibly the deadliest cyclone ever recorded in the region‘.
Beira has been severely battered by the cyclone which cut off electricity, forced the airport to shut down and cut off road access to the rest of the country.
The Red Cross said that 90 percent of Beira, a city of 500,000, had been damaged or destroyed.
Describing the cyclone’s impact as ‘massive and horrifying‘ they said the scale of devastation was ‘enormous’.
The charity’s Jamie LeSueur said: ‘Almost everything is destroyed. Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible. Beira has been severely battered. But we are also hearing that the situation outside the city could be even worse. Yesterday, a large dam burst and cut off the last road to the city.‘
Cyclone Idai first hit Beira last week and then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.
More than 215 people have been killed by the storm according to official figures in the three countries, hundreds more are missing and more than 1.5 million people have been affected, according to the Red Cross and government officials.
Humanitarian aid charity CARE said it was ‘possibly the deadliest cyclone ever recorded in the region‘.
Marc Nosbach, the charity’s director in Mozambique, said: ‘Roads to the areas hit by the cyclone have been completely blocked by fallen trees and rubble. The infrastructure has been completely destroyed. Initial reports indicate significant damage to houses and buildings, including to health facilities and schools. There is a complete power outage since Thursday’s rainfall. Telephone and internet communications are down.‘
The heavy rains will raise the water levels in the rivers near Beira and potentially cause floods that will impact a wider area in Manica and Sofala Provinces, the charity said.
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa both returned from foreign trips to attend to the emergencies caused by the storm.
Zimbabwe’s president returned home from the United Arab Emirates ‘to make sure he is involved directly with the national response by way of relief to victims of Cyclone Idai,’ the information ministry said. The Zimbabwean government declared a state of national disaster.
Mozambique cyclone feared to have killed a thousand people. Horrifying!