Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in Mozambique’s Beira on Thursday, has killed almost 150 people after hitting Zimbabwe and Malawi, AP reported on Sunday. Officials said hundreds have been reported missing after the storm cut off roads, disrupted power supply and telephone connectivity and left thousands of people stranded.
United Nations and officials from the three governments said more than 1.5 million people have been affected by the storm.
The Beira airport has been shutdown since the storm struck. Rescue and relief operations are underway.
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi said the damage is “very worrisome” and that relief operations were being hindered by the flooding.
At least 31 people have died in Zimbabwe, government officials told the news agency. Most of the deaths in Zimbabwe occurred in Chimanimani, a tourist destination. Government spokesman Nick Mangwana said no tourists have been reported killed yet.
Zimbabwe’s ministry of information said military personnel are trying to rescue 197 students stranded at their school. State television channel ZBC pegged the number of missing at 150. “We are receiving tragic reports of some people being swept away. We urge patience as rescue is on its way,” Zimbabwe’s information ministry said in a tweet.
On March 15, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies tweeted that people “are now facing a second threat of flash floods” after the cyclone hit Malawi.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s military has sent in aircraft and 10 medical personnel to aid rescue efforts in Mozambique and Malawi, AP reported.