Cyclone hits southern Africa, kills 140

Lester Mason
March 16, 2019

Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in the three southern African countries, according to the United Nations and government officials.

Many houses have been damaged and bridges washed away in parts of the Manicaland province which borders Mozambique. Thousands were marooned by the heavy flooding and, only caring for the lives, abandoned their possessions to seek safety on higher ground.

Meanwhile a spokesman for Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, Jacob Mafume, tweeted that a "serious humanitarian crisis" is unfolding in the country's eastern districts. Elsewhere in Chimanimani, 13 Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) staff in Mawenje who moved to the mountain are waiting for rescue teams, while 67 houses have been damaged in Chipinge leaving at least 5 families homeless in the district.

"We need state intervention on a massive scale to avoid biblical disaster", he said.

Local officials in Mozambique said that heavy rains earlier in the week, before the cyclone struck, had already claimed another 66 lives, injured scores and displaced 17,000 people.

They had also affected neighbouring Malawi, where 56 people died and almost a million others were affected, the government said.

The WMO said the storm packed winds of 103 miles per hour and there was fear that it could hit Beira at the same time as high tide, which would worsen the flooding situation there.


"The situation is dire but we don't know the exact particulars", said Jamie LeSueur, the Red Cross's roving emergency operations manager for Africa. Roads were flooded and the airport was shut down.

"Some runway lights were damaged, the navigation system is damaged, the control tower antennas and the control tower itself are all damaged", an official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) told AFP on Friday.

Hardest hit is Mozambique's central port city of Beira where the airport is closed, electricity is out and many homes have been destroyed.

"The runway is full of obstacles and parked aircraft are damaged".

The storm also affected power supplies to neighbouring South Africa which imports electricity from Mozambique to supplement its own production.

Power utility Eskom on Saturday bumped up rotational load shedding from Stage 2 to Stage 4 due to a shortage of capacity exacerbated by the loss of 900 MW from Mozambique Fin24 reported.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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