Cyclone Idai hits Zimbabwe.Civil Protection Unit issues floods warning

Lamar Ellis
March 15, 2019

The initial system killed at least 66 people due to flooding in Mozambique, Agence France-Presse reported.

About 62 975 people were affected by the floods in Mozambique.

Tropical Cyclone Idai, which formed over the Northern Mozambique Channel on 9 March, is expected to make landfall near Beira on 14 or 15 March.

She spoke to reporters late Tuesday after a meeting of the Council of Ministers held in Maputo to discuss the deadly flooding.

Mozambique is prone to extreme weather events and as the storm approached, the coastal city of Beira was hit by winds of more than 170 kph, the National Meteorological Institute said, with Radio Mocambique reporting several homes had been destroyed and roads cut off.

Flooding from the storm's first round inundated almost 650 square miles, destroyed 18 hospitals, 938 classrooms and injured 122 people.

Some 62 975 people were affected by the floods in the provinces of Niassa, Tete and Zambezia.

More than 168,000 hectares (415,000 acres) of crops were destroyed, the government spokeswoman added.

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Authorities have ordered the compulsory evacuation of people living in flood-prone areas.

"The government needs 1.1 billion meticais (US$16m) to assist 80 000 families affected by the rains".

According to the Saffir-Simpson scale Cyclone Idai is now and extremely unsafe category 4 storm and has explosively intensified in the past 8 hours which is expected to make landfall by tomorrow.

In Mozambique and neighboring Malawi, 122 people have died in cyclone-related rains according to a United Nations briefing issued on Thursday, making Idai the deadliest extreme weather event on Earth so far in 2019.

Another storm in 2015 left more than 100 people dead.

"The cyclone was located over the Mozambique Channel on March 12 and is expected to strengthen into intense tropical cyclone status (Category 4 equivalent) again prior to making landfall".

"Cyclone Idai made landfall at about midnight and is now lying north-west off Beira", said Jan Vermeulen, senior forecaster at South African Weather service.

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