Mozambique president says more than 1,000 dead after cyclone

Hundreds of people are feared dead as Cyclone Idai rips through countries in southern Africa including Zimbabwe Malawi and Mozambique

Hundreds of people are feared dead as Cyclone Idai rips through countries in southern Africa including Zimbabwe Malawi and Mozambique

Most parts of Zimbabwe's eastern border with Mozambique have been hit by the peripheral effects of cyclone Idai but statistics suggest the country could have the highest toll in the region.

"I think this is the biggest natural disaster Mozambique has ever faced", Celso Correia, the country's environment minister, told the South Africa-based Mail & Guardian.

A damaged sports arena is seen after Tropical Cyclone Idai, in Beira, Mozambique.

An aerial view of the destruction of homes after Tropical Cyclone Idai, in Beira, Mozambique.

Harare is battling to rescue thousands of people in Chimanimani and Chipinge, the hardest hit districts of Manicaland Province, east of the country bordering Mozambique. Some affected communities are not accessible.

"We are looking at probably 150 to 200 people missing", he said. Their fate is now unknown because the area is still unreachable.

Two of the victims were students who died after a landslide sent a boulder crashing into their dormitory, collapsing the wall of the dining room and trapping 50 of them, the country's Department of Civil Protection (DCP) said in a statement.

Almost 200 pupils and their teachers at St Charles Luwanga School in Chipinge, who had been stranded since Friday, were rescued Sunday.

Only 84 deaths have been confirmed so far in Mozambique as a result of Cyclone Idai, which has also left a trail of death and destruction across Zimbabwe and Malawi, with vast areas of land flooded, roads destroyed and communication wiped out.

Zimbabwe's president (who is now out of the country on an "official State visit" to the United Arab Emirates) declared a State of Disaster in terms of the country's laws.

Beira, a city in central Mozambique, reportedly suffered "massive and horrifying" damage from the storm.

Beira worldwide airport was briefly shut after the air traffic control tower and navigation equipment were partially destroyed by the cyclone.

The airport was set to reopen on Sunday as flights began taking off from the capital Maputo bound for Beira. "The scale of devastation is enormous", said Jamie LeSueur, who is leading IFRC's assessment team, in an IRFC statement.

"The teachers and school authorities are making all efforts to ensure the children arrive and we take them home but it seems the situation is getting worse", one unnamed parent told the state broadcaster ZBC, as she raised concerns about the ongoing rains.

- Amanda Lichtenstein (@travelfarnow) March 18, 2019 very bad 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.

He said most donations needed were fuel, food (dried or tinned) beans, water, mealie meal, portable gas stoves, blankets, warm clothing, IV fluids, chronic and other essential medicines, water, cooking utensils, tents and stretcher beds as well as vehicles.

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