Mozambique says death toll rises to 446 after cyclone

Mozambique says the death toll from cyclone Idai has risen to 446. (File photo: AFP)

Mozambique has recorded more deaths from a cyclone and floods around southern Africa, a government minister said on Sunday, with hundreds left in camps after homes were destroyed.

Cyclone Idai lashed the Mozambican port city of Beira with winds of up to 170 kilometers per hour (kph), then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, flattening buildings and putting the lives of millions at risk.

Rosa Tomas, 27, poses with her one-year-old son Dionisio Eduardo, in front of their destroyed and mud-covered home in Buzi, Mozambique, on March 23, 2019. (AFP)

Rosa Tomas, 27, poses with her one-year-old son Dionisio Eduardo, in front of their destroyed and mud-covered home in Buzi, Mozambique, on March 23, 2019. (AFP)

Mozambique’s Land and Environment Minister Celso Correia told journalists that the death toll had risen to 446 from 417, adding that 531,000 people had been affected by the disaster and 110,000 were in camps.

The storm has also killed scores of people in Zimbabwe, with the United Nations’ migration agency reporting that 259 people had been killed while its humanitarian arm OCHA said the death toll was at 154.

Enia Joaquin Luis, 11, wakes up under plastic sheets to protect herself from rain as she stays in shelter at the stands of Ring ground in Buzi, Mozambique, on March 23, 2019. (AFP)

Enia Joaquin Luis, 11, wakes up under plastic sheets to protect herself from rain as she stays in shelter at the stands of Ring ground in Buzi, Mozambique, on March 23, 2019. (AFP)

Reuters could not immediately contact authorities in Zimbabwe.

In Malawi, 56 people died in heavy rains ahead of the cyclone.

In all three countries, survivors have been digging through rubble to search for victims, and scrambling for shelter, food, and water, while governments and aid agencies rush in help.

Rosita Moises Zacarias and her sister Joaninha Manuel walk in flooded waters from their house destroyed by the cyclone Idai, on March 22, 2019. (AFP)

Rosita Moises Zacarias and her sister Joaninha Manuel walk in flooded waters from their house destroyed by the cyclone Idai, on March 22, 2019. (AFP)

The Mozambican minister had said on Saturday that some 1,500 people were in need of immediate rescue from rooftops and trees. On Sunday he said the number of people who needed rescuing had decreased dramatically, without giving a figure.

The floods have raised the risk of cholera and other water-borne diseases, and Correia said the government was opening a cholera treatment center in readiness of an outbreak.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 14:04 - GMT 11:04
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