Cyclone death toll climbs in Mozambique as Zimbabwe fears dam burst
March 24 2019 05:10 PM
A rainbow appears in the sky in Buzi, Mozambique after the area was hit by the Cyclone Idai.
A rainbow appears in the sky in Buzi, Mozambique after the area was hit by the Cyclone Idai.

Dpa/Maputo

The death toll has risen in Mozambique, the country hardest hit by cyclone Idai, a government minister said Sunday.

Environment Minister Celso Correia said 446 people were confirmed dead, up from 417 a day earlier. As rescue operations continue these numbers may increase, he added.

‘We mapped areas at risk and the good news is that we are bringing people to the accommodation centres,’ Correia said at a press conference in Beira, the coastal city hardest hit by the cyclone.

Some 518,323 people have been affected across Mozambique, he added.

Adding to the misery, the Health Ministry recorded cases of malaria and cholera in accommodation centres for the displaced in the central town of Namacurra.

The number of cases has not yet been confirmed, ministry spokesman Augusto Macume said.

Cyclone Idai struck south-east Africa nine days ago, leaving more than 600 people dead across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, destroying homes and causing widespread flooding.

Throughout the region, some 600,000 people have been displaced and at least 1.7 million have been affected, according to various UN agencies.

In Zimbabwe, where more than 145 people died and several hundred are still missing, authorities began evacuating residents from the town of Chimanimani on Sunday after flood waters weakened a dam wall.

‘The Civil Protection Unit wishes to inform the public that Manyera dam wall in Vumba has weakened and all those downstream are advised to evacuate and go to higher places,’ the unit said in a tweet.

‘Please if you have relatives in this area pass on this message at once.’  More than 1,000 families are in danger if the dam bursts, the unit's director Nathan Nkomo told dpa.

The effects of cyclone Idai are also being felt further afield. Uganda's National Meteorological Authority said the climatic effects of the cyclone would affect weather systems along the coast, leading to a delayed rainy season.

Seasonal rains in Uganda usually start in early March and end in May, but instead the country has been experiencing intense heat waves.



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