Maputo [Mozambique]: Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi on Monday said that Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in Mozambique and other neighbouring countries, might have claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, as torrential rains showed no signs of abating.
“Officially, we have a record of more than 84 dead but everything indicates that we can have a record of more than 1,000 dead,” CNN quoted Nyusi as saying while addressing the nation. He added that “100,000 people are in danger.”
Nyusi made the comments after undertaking an aerial survey to assess the extent of damage inflicted by the tropical cyclone and overseeing the rescue operations.
Terming the situation a ‘real humanitarian disaster of large proportions’, he remarked: “Waters from the rivers Pungue and Buzi have broken their banks, wiping out entire villages, isolating communities and we could see, as we flew above, bodies floating.”
Cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira, a coastal city in Mozambique on March 14 and proceeded to the neighbouring Zimbabwe and parts of Malawi. According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), more than 150 people have been killed, as per initial assessments.
The IFRC stated that death toll could rise in the coming days, adding that the cyclone caused “massive and horrifying” damage in Beira and the city has been cut off from the rest of the country.
In Zimbabwe and Malawi, authorities said that 239 people (89 in Zimbabwe and 150 in Malawi) have been killed due to Cyclone Idai.
A total of around 1.5 million people have been affected by Cyclone Idai’s torrential rains and winds that have reached speeds of up to 200 kilometres. Rescue efforts have been challenging owing to the inclement weather as the cyclone has left a trail of destruction in the three countries, with flash floods sweeping away houses, uprooting trees and destroying crop fields.
In the wake of Cyclone Idai which ravaged Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, India on Monday diverted three naval ships to Beira to provide immediate humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
India’s Secretary Economic Relations (ER) TS Tirumurti tweeted: “In response to request from Mozambique hit by tropical cyclone causing loss of lives and damage, India has diverted 3 Indian Naval Ships to port city of Beira to provide immediate Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief of food, clothes and medical help to affected people.”