Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected after Cyclone Idai hit southern Africa, in what is being dubbed as the “worst humanitarian disaster” in Mozambique’s history, BBC reported. Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe have been hit by massive floods and devastation over the last week.
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi called it “a humanitarian disaster of great proportion”. He said the toll after Cyclone Idai now stood at more than 200. On Monday, the toll stood at 84. Earlier, the president had said that the toll could reach 1,000.
“This is the worst humanitarian crisis in Mozambique’s history,” Reuters quoted rescue official Jamie LeSueur as saying. LeSueur is leading rescue efforts in Beira in Sofala province for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe authorities said at least 98 people have been killed and more than 200 people are missing, BBC reported.
Many people are believed to be trapped in remote areas surrounded by submerged villages and wrecked roads. According to the Red Cross, at least 40,000 people are homeless in central Mozambique alone.
Rescue teams are struggling to reach the survivors even five days after the cyclone, reports said. Air Force personnel from Mozambique and South Africa were deployed for rescue missions using helicopters, AFP reported. “It is the only way to access the people that are stranded,” Abrie Senekal of NGO Rescue South Africa said.
The European Union on Tuesday announced an emergency aid package of €3.5 million to Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The United Kingdom has pledged up to £6 million in aid.