Friday, 22 March, 2019

Mozambique braces for 'extremely dangerous' Cyclone Idai

Rainfall accumulation as Cyclone Idai hits Mozambique Rainfall accumulation as Cyclone Idai hits Mozambique
Patty Aguilar | 15 March, 2019, 10:15

More than 75,900 people are estimated to be displaced, with many ad hoc camps established and people living out in the open as their houses have been destroyed.

The storm made landfall on Mozambique's shore early Friday morning local time.

At least 126 people have been killed in Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa as heavy rains hit southeastern Africa over the past week, affecting more than one million people, officials said.

Mozambique is prone to cyclones, floods and droughts, and floods in 2000 claimed at least 800 lives while more than 100 were killed in 2015.

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

News24 reported that Tropical Storm Dineo, with winds in excess of 166km/h, hit Mozambique in February.

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The Southern African country is prone to cyclones.

Mozambique cabinet spokesperson Ana Comoana said the "government has decreed a red alert due to the continuing rains and the approach of the tropical cyclone Idai, expected to reach the country between Thursday to Friday", Al Jazeera reported.

"I have lost everything such that only these clothes I am wearing now are my only possessions, nothing else", Dorica Mateba, 83, told Al Jazeera.

eNCA's Dasen Thathiah is in the country with more.

"Substantial devastation with massive flooding both from river and sea is expected" when Idai makes landfall, South African charity Gift of the Givers said, indicating it was ready to deploy 70 rescue staff, along with 4x4 vehicles, boats, and jetskis to help with rescue efforts. After landfall, Cyclone Idai is expected to track inland, bringing heavy rain to central Mozambique and potentially into eastern Zimbabwe.

According to the Mozambique National Institute for Disaster Management, the National Operational Emergency Centre (CENOE) is prepared for extreme weather events and in 2017, the CENOE demonstrated the use of drones to allow teams to assess the impact and scale of natural disasters.

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