Hurricane kills 166 in southern Africa as heavy rains persist

Mozambique cyclone kills dozens, cuts power to SA

19 killed, Beira city shut off as tropical cyclone slams Mozambique

Speaking to state radio after flying over the port city of Beira and viewing the flooding and devastation, Nyusi said he saw bodies floating in the flooded areas.

"The number of Zimbabweans that we have lost at the present count is 89", government spokesman Nick Mangwana told reporters at a briefing on Monday, adding that engineers were working to get medication and food supplies to those affected.

"It seems that 90 percent of the area is completely destroyed", he said in a statement.

"Beira has been severely battered".

Damages at the airport in Beira Mozambique in the aftermath of the passage of the cyclone Idai
Damages at the airport in Beira Mozambique in the aftermath of the passage of the cyclone Idai

A damaged sports arena is seen after Tropical Cyclone Idai, in Beira, Mozambique.

Beira worldwide airport was briefly shut after the air traffic control tower and navigation equipment were partially destroyed by the cyclone. The National Institute of Meteorology of Mozambique issued an alert for heavy rain and strong wind for the already affected provinces over the next hours.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: "The scale of damage caused by Cyclone Idai that hit the Mozambican city of Beira is massive and horrifying".

"The situation is awful". The scale of devastation is enormous. According to the IFRC, their team was forced to drive from the capital Maputo before taking a helicopter for the last part of the journey.

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Cyclone Idai is believed to be the most destructive storm to hit the impoverished southeastern African country in more than 10 years. "Some affected communities are not accessible", LeSueur, who is also heading the organization's investigations into the damage, said in a statement.

In Beira, Mozambique's fourth-largest city and home to 500,000 people, a large dam had burst, further complicating rescue efforts.

Zimbabwean rescuers were struggling to reach people in Chimanimani, many of whom have been sleeping in the mountains since Friday, after their homes were flattened by rock falls and mudslides or washed away by torrential rains.

The tropical storm has already pounded neighbouring Malawi and Mozambique.

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The country's information ministry permanent secretary, Nick Mangwana, said the bad weather had made it hard to carry out rescue operations.

Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi and Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa both returned from foreign trips to attend to the emergencies caused by the storm.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been forced to cut short his visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to attend to the devastating effects of Tropical Cyclone Idai, which has so far claimed 82 lives and left almost 200 missing.

In an editorial, Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper said that climate change was responsible for the extreme weather, and that the country must brace itself for more.

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Thousands have been forced to leave behind their belongings and flee to higher ground, as United Nations agencies and the Red Cross attempt to deliver food and medicine.

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