100 killed as Cyclone Idai heads into Zimbabwe…Malawi, Mozambique count costs


"Tropical Cyclone IDAI is expected to make a landfall over Beira in Mozambique which is 480kms to Nsanje Boma by Thursday 14 March, while dumping heavy rains overland in Mozambique including southern Malawi".

Cyclone Eline, which hit the country in February 2000 when it was already devastated by its worst floods in three decades, killed 350 people and made 650,000 homeless across southern Africa.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has just released more than 340,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to fund local preparedness efforts and to prepare to support 7,500 people in the aftermath of the storm. The storm was also expected to hit parts of neighbouring Malawi.

The floods in Mozambique, one of Africa's poorest countries, have already destroyed 5,756 homes, affecting 15,467 households and 141,325 people.

In Mozambique, 111 people have been injured, 18 hospitals destroyed, 938 classrooms destroyed and 9,763 students affected.

Heavy rains in neighbouring Malawi have affected nearly a million people and claimed 56 lives, according to the latest government toll. "Cabinet urges the public to exercise extreme caution during storms and heavy weather, and not attempt to cross flooded roads, bridges and rivers".

Idai is equivalent to a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, packing wind gusts of up to 144 miles per hour, and is forecast to arrive onshore later on Thursday near the port city of Beira, Mozambique's fourth-biggest metropolis.

Another storm in 2015 left more than 100 people dead.

Without the energy from the warm waters of the Mozambique channel, the system will continue to weaken on Friday, but will still continue to bring torrential rain over central Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe into the weekend, while gale force winds will start to moderate during Friday. Preceding rains and floods over the past week led the President of Malawi to declare a State of Disaster in affected areas.