The figure of individuals killed in an incredible storm and preceding floods in Mozambique could surpass 1,000, the president said on Monday, putting the potential loss of life enormously more than current figures.
Eighty-four passings have been affirmed so far in Mozambique because of Cyclone Idai, which has likewise left a trail of death and annihilation crosswise over Zimbabwe and Malawi, with immense regions of land overflowed, streets pulverized and correspondence cleared out.
Talking on Radio Mocambique, President Filipe Nyusi said he had flown over the influenced area, where two waterways had flooded. Towns had vanished, he stated, and bodies were coasting in the water.
“Everything indicates that we can register more than 1,000 deaths,” he said.
The cyclone has also killed 98 people and more than 200 are missing in Zimbabwe, the government said on Monday, while the death toll in Malawi from heavy rains and flooding stood at 56 as of last week. No new numbers had been released following the cyclone’s arrival in the country.
Caroline Haga, a senior International Federation of the Red Cross official who is in Beira, said the situation could be far worse in the surrounding areas, which remained completely cut off by road and where houses were not as sturdy.
Nyusi flew over areas that were otherwise accessible, and some of which had been hit by flooding before Cyclone Idai.
In Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city and home to 500,000 people, a large dam had burst, further complicating rescue efforts.
Large swathes of land were completely submerged, and in some streets people waded through knee-high water around piles of mangled metal and other debris.
In the early hours of Monday morning, rescuers launched dinghies onto chest-high waters, navigating through reeds and trees – where some people perched on branches to escape the water – to rescue those trapped by the flooding.
Meanwhile, rescuers were struggling to reach people in Zimbabwe’s Chimanimani district, cut off from the rest of the country by torrential rains and winds of up to 170 kph that swept away roads, homes and bridges and knocked out power and communication lines.
Zimbabwe’s treasury has released $18 million to rebuild roads and bridges, provide water and sanitation and electricity. Families began burying the dead but the death toll is expected to rise.
Many people had been sleeping in the mountains since Friday, after their homes were flattened by rock falls and mudslides or washed away by torrential rains.
The Harare government has declared a state of disaster in areas affected by the storm. Zimbabwe, a country of 15 million people, was already suffering a severe drought that has wilted crops.