Death toll in Mozambique cyclone, floods could surpass 1,000 - president

Zimbabwe Death toll from tropical cyclone climbs to 65

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.

Worldwide aid agencies and government officials are scrambling Tuesday to rescue families trapped by the floodwaters from rivers that have burst their banks and are still rising.

More than 2.6 million people were affected according to Al Jazeera.

The worldwide human rights organization urged authorities in Mozambique and Malawi, countries that are prone to flooding to adopt climate change policies that could reduce the impact of such occurrences.

According to the Red Cross, the cyclone has damaged or destroyed 90 per cent of Beira, Mozambique's second largest city and a major port hub.

While the death toll now stands at 84 in the nation, Nyusi said that "it appears we can register more than 1,000 deaths". Villages had disappeared, he said, and bodies were floating in the water.

A man searches for missing family members with his dog on March 18, 2019 in Ngangu township, Chimanimani, Manicaland Province, eastern Zimbabwe, after the area was hit by Cyclone Idai.

The road between Beira and Chimoio has been damaged, leaving aid agencies cut off, unable to deliver supplies.

The cyclone slammed into the southeast African country as a high-end Category 2 storm with 175 kph (110 miles per hour winds) at midnight Thursday, causing widespread devastation, before moving inland into Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Mozambique's Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, creating "inland oceans extending for miles and miles in all directions", Verhoosel said. Their fate was unknown because the area was still unreachable. That rainfall is now rushing back through Mozambique, further inundating the already flooded countryside. "We did an aerial surveillance yesterday and saw people on rooftops and in tree branches". "There is a lot of water that may come from the west", Mr Cochrane said. "Thousands of children lived in areas completely engulfed by water".

Aid groups said many survivors were trapped in remote areas, surrounded by wrecked roads, flattened buildings and submerged villages.

The U.N. also warned of devastation outside Beira, in particular of livestock and crops. The Beira hospital is severely damaged.

The U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe says it is "mobilizing support" for partners in the three countries, with no further details. Her mother's neighbourhood was in one of the worst-hit areas. Families began burying the dead but the death toll is expected to rise. "We believe to this day many still lie unrecovered beneath mounds of debris that hit them with such overwhelming fury in their sleep that they stood no chance".

"Sometimes we can only save two out of five, sometimes we drop food and go to someone else who's in bigger danger", he said.

"This is shaping up to be one of the worst weather-related disasters ever to hit the southern hemisphere, if the report by [Mozambique's] president and other agencies are confirmed, in terms of the causality toll", Clare Nullis from the UN's weather agency said.

The Harare government has declared a state of disaster in areas affected by the storm.

In a related development, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) said its supply stations have been affected by flooding.

The European Union has meanwhile released 3.5 million euros in emergency aid for the three countries.

Minister of Defence Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has admitted that the government was ill prepared to handled Cyclone Idai because it failed to anticipate the magnitude of the cyclone.

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