Cyclone Idai death toll may exceed 1000

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The death toll from Tropical Cyclone Idai could exceed 1000, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said on Monday.

More than 84 deaths have officially been recorded since the landfall of Idai on Thursday night, which brought torrential rains and devastating winds.

However, President Nyusi said the situation could be much more serious in his speech addressed to the nation, after flying over the disaster-hit areas to conduct an inspection on Sunday.

"Everything indicates that we may register more than 1000 deaths," said Nyusi, adding that the cyclone has left the region without drinking water, communications and it has affected the normal functioning of hospitals, schools and other public and private institutions.

"The water of the Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, making villages disappear and isolating communities," said the President. "Bodies are floating. It is a real humanitarian disaster with great proportions."

President Nyusi said the government's concern and priority were to save people's lives without excuses.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has joined their Mozambican counterparts on the ground to help with the searches and air resources including helicopters and airplanes.

They are in Beira which is one of the worst-affected cities to ensure rapid humanitarian assistance.