Cyclone ravages Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing at least 140

Leroy Wright
March 17, 2019

State broadcaster Radio Mocambique, said "preliminary information points to 19 deaths and more than 70 injured in Sofala province as a result of cyclone Idai".

Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been hit by a vicious cyclone that has killed almost 150 people, left hundreds more missing and stranded tens of thousands who are cut off from roads and telephones in mainly poor, rural areas.

Earlier Saturday, Joshua Sacco, an MP in Chimanimani district, told AFP that more than 100 people were missing.

Among the casualties were two pupils and a security officer from St Charles Lwanga High School, and 10 victims from Ngangu Township in Chimanimani, which was the most affected.

Even before the cyclone made landfall on Friday, heavy rains earlier in the week had already claimed 66 lives and displaced 17,000 people in Mozambique, local officials said.

The Manicaland province of Zimbabwe, which boarders Mozambique, has been heavily affected, with many bridges and other structures having washed away from the natural disaster, IOL reported.

"We urge patience as rescue is on its way", Zimbabwe's information ministry said in a tweet, although power cuts and communications breakdown in affected areas means the warning might reach just a few. "There were people inside", he told the AFP news agency, saying they were listed as missing.

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There have been emergency relief camps opened, with President Peter Mutharika declaring a national emergency. The cyclone first hit Mozambique with winds up to 106 miles per hour, then moved westward into Zimabwe and Malawi, destroying homes, schools, businesses and police stations.

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

He was making the 1,200-kilometre (745-mile) trip from Maputo to Beira by road after flights were cancelled and the airport closed.

The hardest hit has been Mozambique's central port city of Beira, where the airport is closed, electricity is out and homes have been destroyed.

"Some runway lights were damaged, the navigation system is damaged, the control tower antennas and the control tower itself are all damaged", an official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) told AFP on Friday.

South Africa's power utility company Eskom on Saturday introduced severe electricity rationing "due to the loss of additional capacity, which includes a reduction in imports from Mozambique", it said in a statement.

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