Central Mozambique has been struck by a deadly cyclone, with heavy rain and winds reaching up to 105mph (170km/h). Electricity and communications w
Central Mozambique has been struck by a deadly cyclone, with heavy rain and winds reaching up to 105mph (170km/h). Electricity and communications were cut off in the coastal city of Beira as the weather system made landfall. Heavy rain added to the weeks of flooding already plaguing Mozambique, which has displaced tens of thousands.
Images uploaded to social media showed pylons toppled, houses torn apart, billboards and rooftops blown away, trees snapped, communication towers knocked down and electricity cables lying across the streets.
Recent flooding has already wreaked havoc across Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa with more than one million people affected.
There have been emergency relief camps opened, with President Peter Mutharika declaring a national emergency.
The low-lying city of Beira is a gateway for imports to southeast Africa, and has a population of 500,000, sitting at the mouth of the Pungwe River.
How many have died?
More than 100 people have been killed in Mozambique and Malawi as a result of weeks of flooding in the area.
Villages have been left underwater and floods washed away houses and knocked out power in some areas.
Storm surges of up to two-metres cut off villages from the mainland along the coast of the northerly Zambezi province.
Senior forecaster Jan Vermeulen said: “Cyclone Idai made landfall at about midnight and is now lying north-west off Beira.
“We don’t have any communications from the area.
“I think there’s a lot of damage to infrastructure which is probably responsible for the loss in communications.”
Government emergency services had yet to give an update but the South African Weather Service (SAWS) said the cyclone was moving inland, northwest of Beira.
The Mozambican television channel TVM reported that at least five people had been seriously injured.
The SAWS said the storm would weaken as it moved inland but would still bring significant rain and widespread flash flooding to the Sofala and Manica provinces, the far east of Zimbabwe and southern Malawi.
Almost 100,000 people had been forced to leave their homes across Mozambique and Malawi, where humanitarian operations are already underway.
Michael Milton of the U.N. World Food Programme said: “Twenty tons of biscuits will arrive in the country shortly for immediate assistance to stranded communities, by boat and helicopter.”
In February 2000, Cyclone Eline hit Mozambique when it was already devastated by its worst floods in three decades. It killed 350 people and made 650,000 homeless across southern Africa.