Friday, 22 March, 2019

Mozambique cyclone kills dozens, cuts power to SA

'Dozens of casualties' as Cyclone Idai hits Mozambique Mozambique cyclone kills dozens, cuts power to SA
Jeannette Daniel | 17 March, 2019, 09:42

The surge could submerge thousands of homes and businesses, and potentially displace more than 1,000 residents, the Post reports.

Tropical Cyclone Idai which made a landfall on Thursday night in Mozambique is moving towards Zimbabwe where it will eventually die down on March 18, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has said.

Parts of Mozambique were cut off on Friday as a tropical storm battered the coast and the major port city of Beira with heavy rain and winds of up to up 170kph.

Joshua Sacco, a member of Parliament in the eastern district of Chimanimani, told Reuters that the storm had left a trail of destruction reminiscent of Cyclone Eline in February 2000, which devastated southern Zimbabwe.

Many houses have been damaged and bridges washed away in parts of the Manicaland province which borders Mozambique.

Heavy rains in neighbouring Malawi have affected nearly a million people and claimed 56 lives, according to the latest government toll. "There were people inside", he told the AFP news agency, saying they were listed as 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.

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"We need state intervention on a massive scale to avoid biblical disaster", wrote MDC spokesman Jacob Mafume on Twitter.

Zimbabwe's ministry of information has been posting updates on social media and has announced that the country's national army was leading rescue efforts in the affected areas. 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.

"The situation is dire but we don't know the exact particulars", said Jamie LeSueur, the Red Cross's roving emergency operations manager for Africa.

As the cyclone approached, the Red Cross sent out more than 200 volunteers to areas most likely to be affected. Roads were flooded and the airport was shut down.

It would require "the full force of the humanitarian community behind the government of Mozambique to respond to rapidly", he told AFP.

When the cyclone hit Mozambique, authorities there were forced to close the worldwide airport in the port city of Beira after the air traffic control tower, the navigation systems and the runways were damaged by the storm.

The storm also affected power supplies to neighbouring South Africa which imports electricity from Mozambique to supplement its own production.

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