Cyclone Idai hits Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi; 150 killed, 1.5mn affected
Three southern African countries, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been hit by a vicious cyclone that has killed nearly 150 people, left hundreds more missing, and stranded tens of thousands who are cut off from roads and telephones in mainly poor, rural areas.
Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in these three countries, according to the UN and government officials.
Storm hit Beira on Thursday then moved to Zimbabwe, Malawi
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 storm hit Beira late Thursday and then moved westward into Zimbabwe and Malawi, affecting thousands more, particularly in eastern areas bordering Mozambique.
Homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, and police stations have been destroyed by the cyclone.
UN agencies along with Red Cross helping with rescue efforts
Only caring about their lives, thousands who were marooned by the heavy flooding abandoned their possessions to seek safety on higher ground. UN agencies and the Red Cross are helping with rescue-efforts that include delivering food supplies and medicines by helicopter to the affected areas.
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Flood making the rescue operations 'difficult': Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi
Speaking on the destruction caused by the cyclone, Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi said the damage is "very worrisome" and said that the flooding made it difficult for aircraft to land and carry out rescue operations, according to Mozambique's state radio.
According to the government reports, in Zimbabwe alone, 31 people have died from the floods so far.
The deaths are mainly in Zimbabwe's Chimanimani.
School children trapped as rock fell from nearby mountain
Chimanimani is a mountainous area along the eastern border with Mozambique that's popular with tourists. No tourist deaths were recorded, said government spokesman Nick Mangwana.
Roads and bridges were swept away, slowing rescue efforts by various organizations and government.
The dead included two school students who were among dozens of children trapped in a dormitory after rocks fell from a nearby mountain, said Mangwana.
Unsafe conditions forcing soldiers to use ground-efforts than air rescue
Zimbabwe's military is trying to rescue the 197 students at the school, although unsafe conditions are forcing the soldiers to use ground efforts rather than attempt an air rescue, the government's Ministry of Information said.
Zimbabwe state television station, ZBC, reported that 150 people are missing.
"We urge patience as the rescue is on its way," Zimbabwe's Information Ministry said in a tweet.
Receiving tragic reports of some people being swept away: Ministry
Govt wishes to discourage any efforts to cross flooded rivers by individuals. We are receiving tragic reports of some people being swept away. We urge patience as rescue is on its way. Let us not have avoidable loss of human life. We have lost 31 Zimbabweans to #CycloneIdai— Ministry of Information, Publicity Broadcasting (@InfoMinZW) March 16, 2019
People facing 'second threat of flash floods' following cyclone
In a tweet, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said that in Malawi, the people "are now facing a second threat of flash floods" following the deadly cyclone.
South Africa's military has sent in aircraft and 10 medical personnel to help those who are struck in Mozambique and Malawi, it said in a statement Saturday.