Malawi floods kill 56, over 80000 displaced as cyclone approaches

Frederick Owens
March 15, 2019

At least 115 people were killed in Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa after heavy rains affected 843 000 people across southeast Africa, officials and the United Nations said, prompting calls for emergency aid. The storm packs sustained winds of 115 miles per hour and threatens a month's worth of rainfall for an already waterlogged region - the makings of a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

"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".

She spoke to reporters late Tuesday after a meeting of the Council of Ministers held in Maputo to discuss the deadly flooding.

The storm is expected to deliver a massive punch to the country when it hits, as pre-storm flooding in Mozambique has already killed 66 people.

Flooding from the storm's first round inundated almost 650 square miles, destroyed 18 hospitals, 938 classrooms and injured 122 people.

More than 168,000 hectares of crops were also destroyed, the government spokeswoman added. Government authorities in Mozambique have ordered a coastal evacuation and raised the national alert level to "institutional code red", its highest state of emergency.

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Some 62 975 people were affected by the floods in the provinces of Niassa, Tete and Zambezia.

Floods have already claimed 30 lives and left over 230,000 people without shelter in southern Malawi which borders Mozambique.

"The government needs 1.1 billion meticais ($16 million) to assist 80,000 families affected by the rains".

Mozambique is prone to extreme weather events. With the current population of Beira believed to be 250,000 and gusts of winds estimated to be over 250km/hour, Cyclone Idai is expected to be the largest the area has seen in a decade.

"It's an intense tropical cyclone; it will have winds of 105 knots (200km/h) when it makes landfall", said Vermeulen.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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