Mozambique president: Death toll in cyclone could surpass 1,000

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- Amanda Lichtenstein (@travelfarnow) March 18, 2019 terrible news out of Mozambique after Cyclone Idai - a powerful example of how more severe storms in a changing climate will impact people around the world.

Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi says that the current Idai death toll may climb by hundreds.

This cyclone follows a week of heavy rains and flooding across southeast Africa that affected 1.5 million people in Mozambique and Malawi, killing at least 120 people in both countries, United Nations officials said.

Cyclone Idai could prove to be Mozambique's deadliest storm in generations. "The scale of devastation is enormous", the IFRC's Jamie LeSueur said.

Responding to a question that the country was ill prepared for the disaster Chamisa said the country was not caught unaware but was ill prepared.

Caroline Haga, a senior International Federation of the Red Cross official in Beira, Mozambique, said the situation could be far worse in the surrounding areas, which remained completely cut off by road and where homes were not as sturdy.

"Main roads leading into Beira have been cut off, buildings have been submerged and severely damaged, and all business has been shut down", said the aid agency, adding that "medical activities in Beira hospital, in local health centers, and throughout the community have ceased completely".

"The situation is awful".

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With Beira's airport closed, the Red Cross team drove from Mozambique's capital Maputo before taking a helicopter for the last part of the journey because roads into Beira have been flooded.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said there was no power in Beira and surrounding areas, and almost all communication lines had been destroyed.

Inhabitants of Chiluvi, a village in central Mozambique, walk last week along a flooded and muddy street after Cyclone Idai and floods that hit the region.

Four days have passed since Cyclone Idai barreled into the coast of southeastern Africa, and the extent of the damage is only now becoming clearer.

A spokesman for the Red Cross told Euronews that they expected the death toll to categorically rise in Mozambique and that difficulty in accessing areas have hindered rescue efforts. "Some affected communities are not accessible", LeSueur, who is heading the organization's investigations into the damage, said in a statement. The main road linking the city of Mutare to the villages of Chimanimani, which has been cut off. AFP.

Speaking on the destruction caused by the cyclone, Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi said the damage is "very worrisome" and said that the flooding made it hard for aircraft to land and carry out rescue operations, according to Mozambique's state radio. The Harare government has declared a state of disaster in areas affected by the storm.

Sofala Province governor Alberto Mondlane warned that the "biggest threat we have now, even bigger than the cyclone, is floods because it's raining more and more".