Tuesday 23 April 2019

Mozambique death toll at 217 after cyclone, 15,000 still to be rescued

In this photo taken on Friday, March 15, 2019 and provided by the International Red Cross, people carry their personal effects after Tropical Cyclone Idai, in Beira, Mozambique. (Denis Onyodi/IFRC via AP)
In this photo taken on Friday, March 15, 2019 and provided by the International Red Cross, people carry their personal effects after Tropical Cyclone Idai, in Beira, Mozambique. (Denis Onyodi/IFRC via AP)
An elderly woman stands next to a collapsed bridge in Chimanimani, about 600 kilometers southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe, Monday, March 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A man looks at a washed away bridge along Umvumvu river following Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Soldiers carry injured survivors from a helicopter in Chimanimani about 600 kilometres south east of Harare, Zimbabwe, Tuesday, March, 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Children stand near a makeshift shelter after a cyclone went through the area in Chimanimani, southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe, Monday, March 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A general view shows destruction after Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 16-17, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video on March 19, 2019. Care International/Josh Estey via REUTERS
Police keep a close watch as a loader clears the road in Chimanimani, southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe, Monday, March 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A man looks at a washed away bridge along Umvumvu river following Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Livestock is seen at a washed away bridge along Umvumvu river following Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
A man carries loaves of bread across a collapsed bridge in Chimanimani, southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe, Monday, March 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
In this photo taken on Friday, March 15, 2019 and provided by the International Red Cross, a man searches through the rubble after Tropical Cyclone Idai, in Beira, Mozambique.(Denis Onyodi/IFRC via AP)
A woman makes her way to a school building being used as an emergency shelter for some 300 local people who are unable to return to their homes following cyclone force winds and heavy rain in the coastal city of Beira, Mozambique, Sunday March 17, 2019. (Josh Estey/CARE via AP)
In this photo taken on Friday, March 15, 2019 and provided by the International Red Cross, a woman hangs a cloth to dry in a sea of rubble after Tropical Cyclone Idai, in Beira, Mozambique. Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi says that more than 1,000 may have by killed by Cyclone Idai, which many say is the worst in more than 20 years. Speaking to state Radio Mozambique, Nyusi said Monday, March 18 that although the official death count is currently 84, he believes the toll will be more than 1,000. (Denis Onyodi/IFRC via AP)
People return to their homes following a cyclone, and heavy rain in the coastal city of Beira, Mozambique, Sunday March 17, 2019. More than 1,000 people are feared dead in Mozambique four days after a cyclone slammed into the southern African country destroying vulnerable residential areas. (Josh Estey/CARE via AP)
People return to Praia Nova Village, one of the most affected neighbourhoods following a cyclone in the coastal city of Beira, Mozambique, Sunday March 17, 2019. Families are returning to the vulnerable shanty town following cyclone high winds and rain. More than 1,000 people are feared dead in Mozambique four days after a cyclone slammed into the southern African country. (Josh Estey/CARE via AP)

Emma Rumney

The death toll after a powerful cyclone in Mozambique stood at 217 and around 15,000 people still needed to be rescued, the Minister of Land and Environment Celso Correia said on Thursday.

Correia said 3,000 people had already been rescued.

Cyclone Idai lashed the Mozambican port city of Beira with winds of up to 170 km per hour (105 miles per hour) last Thursday, then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, flattening buildings and putting the lives of millions at risk.

Winds of up to 170 kph (105 mph) and flooding swept across southeastern Africa, including Zimbabwe and Mozambique, affecting more than 2.6 million people, United Nations officials said on Tuesday.

Rescue crews were still struggling to reach victims five days later, while aid groups said many survivors were trapped in remote areas, surrounded by wrecked roads, flattened buildings and submerged villages. The Red Cross said at least 400,000 people had been made homeless in central Mozambique alone.

"This is the worst humanitarian crisis in Mozambique's history," said Jamie LeSueur, who is leading rescue efforts in Beira for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The organisation said large areas to the west of the port city of Beira were severely flooded, and in places close to the Buzi and Pungwe rivers flood waters are metres deep, completely submerging homes, telephone poles and trees.

LeSueur had said earlier on Tuesday, when the death toll was 84, that the full human impact of the disaster remained unclear, and that the figure was likely to rise.

Reuters

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