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Death toll from Southern Africa cyclone, floods exceeds 700

An aerial photo shows a damaged factory following the devastating Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique

An aerial photo shows a damaged factory following the devastating Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique

Mozambique reported scores of more deaths on Saturday from a cyclone and floods around southern Africa that have killed at least 732 people and left thousands in desperate need of help, many on rooftops and trees.

Cyclone Idai lashed the Mozambican port city of Beira with winds of up to 170 km per hour last week, then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, swamping populations and devastating homes.

Mozambique’s death toll rose to 417 from 242, Land and Environment Minister Celso Correia said.

“The situation is getting better, still critical, but it’s getting better,” he told reporters at the airport in Beira that has become a centre for aid operations.

The storm has killed 259 in Zimbabwe, while in Malawi 56 people died in heavy rains ahead of the cyclone. An estimated 187 people are missing. In all three countries, survivors have been digging through rubble to search for victims, and scrambling for shelter, food and water, while governments and aid agencies rush in help.

“All our food got wet, we didn’t know where to go with the children. We don’t have anything,” said Mimi Manuel, a 26-year-old mother of four who lost her home and was sitting on the floor of a makeshift shelter in a primary school in Beira.

At the refuge, families cooked with wood from trees ripped up by the storm, as toddlers played around battered school desks. Manuel wore a necklace with the word “Hope.”

DESTROYED HOUSES

“When it all started, people started screaming,” another survivor Dina Fiegado, 18, said, describing how sheet rooftops blew off and rough walls collapsed in the sea-edge community of Praia Nova, where residents said about 50 people died.

“Some people tried to escape, some people tried to stay at home.”

The Mozambican minister said some 1,500 people were in need of immediate rescue from rooftops and trees. Helicopters and boats have been carrying people to safety.

The United Nations’ humanitarian office warned that more flooding may come as heavy rains inland poured into the low-lying Beira area and nearby dams filled up threatening to burst the Buzi and Pungwe rivers again.

“We’re going to have to wait until the flood waters recede until we know the full expanse of the toll on the people of Mozambique,” said U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinator Sebastian Rhodes Stampa.

Some cholera cases have been reported. Left with nothing, many survivors were fretting for their future, while others mourned losses.

At Beira’s central morgue, 56-year old Mika Masseera, grieved for his severely weakened mother, Sumbo Mufucho, 73, who died in hospital following a rescue after she had clung to a tree for two days surrounded by floodwaters.

Comments

+1 #1 WADADA roger 2019-03-25 08:48
Its a pity but i also want to predict that the next rains are going to be the worst for Uganda especially for the slum dwellers of Kampala, alot of lives and property shall be lost within the first two weeks.
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0 #2 Akot 2019-03-25 19:35
WADADA roger, agreed!

Ugandans are prepared for nothing, except blame Museveni who should not even be in State House now!

Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Indonesia...are the latest hit by cyclone/heavy rains, while Turkana is hit by dry condition & people have no water, no food!

UN MUST become a useful body & help stop bad rule so that the world embarks on preparing for weather changes!

No country should be burdened by refugees-migrants looking for bettler life out of their countries, but ALL MUST start preparing to handle climate change that is already causing so much human displacement!

Ugandans will only begin taking necessary steps when Museveni is thrown out in UNITY that will give him no chance to destroy/use any one & just go on!
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+1 #3 kabayekka 2019-03-26 10:21
One could try to ask the African Union what program it has for such a catastrophe happening to the coastal countries of Africa.

This famous Union has none. This Mozambique country has seen several flooding and this is not the first and last.

With modern digital communication, many lives would have been saved. The population should have been warned as it is done in the USA when constant cyclones hit their continent. Leadership is Africa is very much lacking. Much of it is busy trying its best to stay put in power longest!
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0 #4 kabayekka 2019-03-26 10:42
Southern Africa has all the technology and human skills to minimize this terrible human suffering if these countries came together over this environmental phenomena.

For a country like Uganda, that depends so much on ocean trade with neighbouring countries like Kenya(Mombasa) and Tanzania (Dar-es-Salaam), well supposing such a catastrophe had happened to these coastal countries, how would the economy of Uganda be like by now?
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