Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

At least 24 dead, over 100 missing in Zimbabwe after cyclone

At least 24 dead, over 100 missing in Zimbabwe after cyclone

"The Tropical Cyclone is creating a convergence of air from north-east and air from south-west over the country causing locally heavy rainfall activities over the south and northern areas but isolated rains over central areas of the country due to the sinking air from the Tropical Cyclone, as it weakens but makes its way towards Zimbabwe" says Nkhokwe as quoted in the Nation Newspaper.

Parts of Mozambique were cut off on Friday as a tropical storm battered the coast and the major port city of Beira with heavy rain and winds of up to up 170kph.

At least 19 people died in Mozambique, according to the government, while a further 24 perished in Zimbabwe, state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Zimbabwe's information ministry said the worst of the storm hit the mountainous Chimanimani region, some 350 kilometers (217 miles) southeast of the capital, Harare.

Joshua Sacco, a member of Parliament in the eastern district of Chimanimani, told Reuters that the storm had left a trail of destruction reminiscent of Cyclone Eline in February 2000, which devastated southern Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Jacob Mafume tweeted that there is a "serious humanitarian crisis" unfolding in eastern Zimbabwe districts.

The boarding school has been shut with the students waiting to be airlifted to safety by the army, which is leading rescue operations. Around 100 houses had been swept away in Ngangu township in Chimanimani town, he said.

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

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

Cyclone Idai cut off power and communications in parts of Manicaland province on the border with Mozambique.

As the cyclone approached, the Red Cross sent out more than 200 volunteers to areas most likely to be affected.

"The situation is now dire and we are calling for emergency both locally and internationally", said Madiro, who is also the Zanu-PF provincial chairperson for Manicaland.

Beira's worldwide airport was closed after the cyclone made landfall, damaging the air traffic control tower, the navigation systems and the runways.

An official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) told AFP earlier that "houses and trees were destroyed and pylons downed".

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

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