Cyclone IDAI -> Mozambique
Tropical Cyclone IDAI - 105 kt winds with 130 kt gusts @ 944 hPa
Around 7 hours to landfall at time of posting.
The track plot point intervals are spaced 6 hours apart.
In addition to high waves and tide, RSMC La Réunion forecast a storm surge near 4m in the southern semi-circle, which could reach 6m in the river mouth Pungwe where Beira is located (about half of a million inhabitants). They say that storm surge could hit this area at same time as high tide, which is fortunately only 1m above mean sea level at the moment.
It‘s a very bad scenario.
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Thanks for that. Looking like an ugly situation for people there, I hope they got enough warning. That eye appears to be around 100 km across with a wide CDO band so it's going to drag a lot of water. Dvorak indication of 130 kt gusts at present.
The sun just went down and the tide reaches its highest level in 2 hrs and 15 mins.
Latest satellite images:
The whole city is a huge collection of haphazard slums that have next to no streets, built on a gigantic swamp with a city draped over the top of it. If you look closely you can see successive older major storm-surge scour-lines hundreds of meters inland, all along the NE beach frontage. Roads are mostly dirt in the area, the rail line into the city is likely to be cut due to major flooding, plus the port and local boats will be out of commission due to the surge and waves. Leaving a battered airport to provide limited outside relief and medical evacuation. The numerous food and cropping plots are likely to be flooded by salt water as canals cross-cut the city.
TC IDAI - 95 kt winds and 115 kt gusts @ 952 hPa
A direct hit on Beira City, Dondo City and Buzi township with the most unfortunate location and timing to maximize the surge, wind, wave and flooding effects within the very low-laying city of Beira. The second-half of the storm has the worst onshore weather within it on satellite imagery so the worst effects will be occurring over the next 3 to 6 hours.
The currently affected area contains about 1 million people once you've counted all the surrounding small cities and towns, within about 100km of Beira. The local time is currently, 2:24 AM, on Friday, March 15, 2019, Central Africa Time (CAT) +0200 UTC. The worst of the storm effects should begin to subside as dawn light returns.
There is a 6-hourly spacing between the track-plot points.
ECMWF model demonstrated remarkable track prediction accuracy up to 5 days in advance.
The tide's flow (which I'm sure didn't go out overnight) is again coming in as the worst of the on-shore storm-surge flooding is taking place. The next HIGH TIDE in Beira is at 10:23 AM which is in about 6 hrs from now.
here you can find high resolution images for the area.
They are images in a "Google-like" resolution and are updated every day.
After "Idai" passage will have a clear vision of the flooded areas.
here you can find the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS)
The flood severity for the area is very high
(purple indicates probability to exceed a 20 year return period).
Plot points are 6 hours apart.
Local Time: 10:35 AM, Friday, March 15, 2019 Central Africa Time (CAT) +0200 UTC
TC IDAI 75kt winds @ 967mb
ECMWF model demonstrated remarkable track prediction accuracy up to 5 days in advance.
I fully agree with you. The ECMWF forecast has been very accurate. The track prediction has been stable and precise. I have not checked GFS every time, but 2 days ago it was late on landing schedule.
Cyclone Leon–Eline - Feb 2000
" ... Late on February 17, Eline made landfall near Mahanoro, Madagascar, with 10‑minute winds of 165 km/h (103 mph). The storm rapidly weakened over land, but restrengthened in the Mozambique Channel to reach peak 10‑minute winds of 185 km/h (115 mph). On February 22, Eline made landfall about 80 km (50 mi) south of Beira, Mozambique, near peak intensity, and quickly weakened over land. ... ... Before Eline's final landfall, Mozambique was experiencing the worst floods since 1951, killing about 150 people. The additional rainfall and flooding from Eline created the country's worst natural disaster in a century. The combined effects destroyed over 250,000 ha (620,000 acres) of crop fields and killed 40,000 cattle. Eline's passage disrupted ongoing relief efforts. High levels along the Limpopo River isolated the town of Xai-Xai, with water levels along the river reaching as high as 11 m (36 ft) above normal in some areas, as well as 15 km (9.3 mi) wide. A dam broke along the river, flooding the town of Chokwe in the middle of the night and trapping several unprepared residents; this accounted for nearly half of the death toll. About 55 people drowned in Sofala Province after rescue helicopters arrived too late to save them. Around 20,000 people in the capital city of Maputo lost their homes. In addition to the floods, strong winds blew away many roofs and some entire houses made of mud. The combined effects of the preceding floods and Eline left about 329,000 people displaced or homeless, caused about 700 deaths, and damage estimated at $500 million (USD). The cyclone and the floods disrupted much of the economic progress Mozambique had made in the 1990s since the end of its civil war. ... "
I have a feeling this one will turn out to be quite a bit worse.
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There are very few news about damages and deaths in Mozambique. The reason is the damages to communication installations.
I expect it'll take about 3 to 4 more days to get an idea of what's occurred. The heavy rain over the inland areas to the west appears to ease off within about five days and go north, so will complicate recon flights until then. Plus the Beira airport will have been hammered plus no power. It’s a real pity so few grasped what happened, but how often does anyone hear news from Mozambique? So it'll be days before global media begin to wake up. If I was the Mozambique government I'd be making every possible effort to get the military to take media in there and get as much detailed footage as possible, so the awareness can be raised via video earlier.
I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit, before the storm was even passed-on some people asserted that it had all been a hyped-up non-event. I said it would be at least three days until we knew if New Orleans was OK. And it took three days for the failed levee news and video of the breach and flooding to emerge. Even modern countries with massive resources take three days to re-establish recon and basic emergency communications again after a major cyclone, so I'd give Mozambique most of a week here, especially given the storm remnant remains close. As we said before the landfall, it’s an ugly situation.
This is going to be quite some flood, the area was already wet down a week before the cyclone hit and most of this new rain will fall within the next 5 days. It appears to be backing-out the way that it was originally forecast too move ENE (i.e. about 7 days back at the top of the thread).
100% of buildings in the city have been damaged and a huge number of those destroyed.
Beira looks like a 'war zone' after cyclone Idai: rescue team
18 March 2019 - 08:22
By Nico Gous
Beira in Mozambique looks like a “war zone” in the aftermath of cyclone Idai, which claimed at least 100 lives. That is what Dylan Meyrick from IPSS Medical Rescue wrote on Facebook on Sunday evening.
“Beira resembles a war zone! 100% of buildings in the city have been damaged and a huge number of those destroyed. The local population living in the rural areas have been hardest hit. Entire villages have been washed away. It has been humbling to see how these people have lost the very little that they had but are resilient and are determined to survive,” Meyrick said.
“There is no electricity and as a result infrequent water, no cellular service and no internet. The EN6 which is the only road in and out of Beira has been destroyed by flood waters about 70km from the city. This morning we estimated that up to 2,000 people need rescuing as the flood waters continue to rise.”
Cyclone Idai has wrecked havoc across Mozambique and Zimbabwe, leaving 400,000 people displaced. Rescue teams have worked up to 18 hours a day, Meyrick said. “It has been a life-changing experience for the members to have to decide who to rescue and who to leave behind. In a profession where they have to deal with situations on a daily basis that no person should, this is probably the most difficult that we have encountered.”
Another report from late yesterday:
Cyclone Idai claims 48 lives in Mozambique, 39 in Zimbabwe
Africa / 17 March 2019, 4:52pm
UN World Food Program kicks off from a very low-base and a huge need.
UN standing with Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique during Cyclone
Monday, 18 March 2019, 3:34 pm
Press Release: UN News
"... According to the World Food Programme (WFP), preliminary projections indicate that at least 1.7 million people were affected in the direct-path of the cyclone in Mozambique, with a further 920,000 in Malawi. A spokesperson for WFP said on Sunday that teams had been active on the ground in all three countries, planning to target around 650,000 with food assistance in Malawi, and 600,000 in Mozambique. ... WFP said it would be scaling-up provision of life-saving services for the treatment of moderate-acute malnutrition in children up to 5-years of age, in communities affected by the cyclone. A WFP plane with 20 tons of emergency food assistance arrived this weekend in Mozambique; 30 WFP funded boat pilots were mobilized, and staff and material have been deployed in Beira, Zambezia and Tete. In the coming days , WFP said it will be able to scale up the response with larger distribution of food."
Indian Navy sends three ships
India to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) support to Mozambique
March 18, 2019
In response to a request from the Republic of Mozambique that is hit by a tropical cyclone ‘IDAI’ of Category 4, causing loss of lives and severe damage to properties in Central and Northern part of Mozambique, Government of India has decided to divert three Indian Naval Ships (INS Sujatha, INS Shardul & INS Sarathi) to the port city of Beira to provide immediate Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the affected people. Indian Naval Ships will provide relief material in the form of food, clothes and medicine to the affected people. In addition, the ships have 3 medical practitioners and 5 nurses to provide immediate medical help.
In this hour of tragedy, Government of India stands ready to extend support to the affected people. India has been extending humanitarian assistance to Mozambique and had provided 10 million dollars for food grains in 2017, after it suffered food shortage as a result of natural calamities.
March 18, 2019
Cyclone Idai death toll in Mozambique 'could rise above 1,000'
President says scale of disaster is huge, as Red Cross says most of Beira damaged or destroyed
Associated Press in Johannesburg
Tue 19 Mar 2019 02.07 AEDT
First published on Mon 18 Mar 2019 11.40 AEDT
The number of people killed in Tropical Cyclone Idai and recent flooding in Mozambique could rise above 1,000, the country’s president has said, as the Red Cross said up to 90% of the port city of Beira had been damaged or destroyed.
Filipe Nyusi told the state broadcaster Radio Mozambique that although the official death count stood at 84, he believed the toll would rise to more than 1,000. The scale of the disaster was “huge”, he said, adding he had seen bodies floating in rivers while flying over the affected region.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said Beira had been battered by the cyclone, cutting off electricity, closing the airport and severing road access to the city of 500,000 people.
Idai hit Beira last week before moving inland and spreading heavy winds and rain to Zimbabwe and Malawi. More than 215 people have been confirmed killed across all the affected countries, while hundreds more are missing and more than 1.5 million people have been affected by the widespread destruction and flooding, according to the Red Cross and government officials.
An aerial shot of Beria made available by the IFRC on Monday. Photograph: Caroline Haga/AP
The scale of the damage to Beira was “massive and horrifying”, said Jamie LeSueur, who led a Red Cross aerial assessment of the city. The team viewed the city by helicopter because roads were flooded. “The situation is terrible. The scale of devastation is enormous. It seems that 90% of the area is completely destroyed,” he said. With Beira airport closed, the team drove from Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, before taking a helicopter for the last part of the journey.
“Almost everything is destroyed. Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible,” LeSueur said.
“Beira has been severely battered. But we are also hearing that the situation outside the city could be even worse. On Sunday, a large dam burst and cut off the last road to the city.”
The storm struck Beira late on Thursday and moved westward into Zimbabwe and Malawi. At least 126 people died in Mozambique and Malawi, according to the Red Cross. In Zimbabwe, 89 people died from the floods, the information ministry said.
Both Nyusi and the Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, returned from foreign trips to attend to the emergencies caused by the storm. Mnangagwa returned home from the United Arab Emirates “to make sure he is involved directly with the national response by way of relief to victims of Cyclone Idai”, the information ministry said. The Zimbabwean government declared a state of national disaster.
UN agencies and the Red Cross were helping with rescue efforts that include delivering food supplies and medicines by helicopter.
More than 1,000 feared dead in Mozambique storm
Mission Aviation Fellowship/AFP / Rick EMENAKET
March 18th, 2019
… "For the moment we have registered 84 deaths officially, but when we flew over the area ... this morning to understand what's going on, everything indicates that we could register more than 1,000 deaths,"Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi said in a nationwide address. …
A large dam burst on Sunday and cut off the last road to Beira, he said. Sofala Province governor Alberto Mondlane warned that the "biggest threat we have now, even bigger than the cyclone, is floods because it’s raining more and more". Emma Beaty, coordinator of a grouping of NGOs known as Cosaco, said: "We've never had something of this magnitude before in Mozambique". Many people in the Beira region fled for their lives or took to the rooftops as the floodwaters rose. "Some dams have broke, and others have reached full capacity, they'll very soon open the flood gates. It's a convergence of flooding, cyclones, dams breaking and making a potential wave: everything's in place so we get a perfect storm," she said.
Mozambique's environment minister, Celso Correia, has also warned that the death tally would rise. "I think this is the biggest natural disaster Mozambique has ever faced. Everything is destroyed," he told AFP on Sunday night at Beira international airport, which re-opened after being temporarily closed because of cyclone damage.
"Flying roofing sheets beheaded people," Rajino Paulino recounting the moment the cyclone smashed into the city. "We are sleeping rough, we are eating poorly and we don't have houses anymore." It swept away homes and ripped bridges to pieces, leaving destruction that the acting defence minister, Perrance Shiri, said "resembles the aftermath of a full-scale war". "There was a lot of destruction both on our facilities and on people," said Shiri speaking on television from the affected eastern highlands region.
Some roads were swallowed up by massive sinkholes, while bridges were ripped to pieces by flash floods, according to an AFP photographer. "This is the worst infrastructural damage we have ever had," Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said. The eastern district of Chimanimani was worst-hit, with houses and most of the region's bridges washed away by flash floods. The most affected areas are not yet accessible, and high winds and dense clouds have hampered military rescue helicopter flights.
Joshua Sacco, lawmaker for Chimanimani, told AFP that between "150 to 200 people" are missing. The majority of them are thought to be government workers, whose housing complex was completely engulfed by raging waters. Their fate is currently unknown because the area is still unreachable. "We are very worried because all these houses were just suddenly submerged under water and literally washed away and that is where we have about 147 missing," he said.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who cut short a visit to Abu Dhabi, said on arrival on Monday, "we are deeply grieved as a nation". But the government has come under fire for failing to move timesously to evacuate people. The main labour movement,the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said the disaster was avoidable. "Authorities knew about the cyclone weeks before it struck, but did absolutely nothing to prepare for its eventuality," it said in
Initial video of flooding:
So it begins ...
UK pledges £6m of aid for hundreds of thousands hit by cyclone in Mozambique and Malawi
Tuesday 19 March 2019 01:04
The Evening Standard
Britain has pledged up to £6 million of aid to send humanitarian relief to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Malawi.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said a team of experts was on the ground in Mozambique helping to co-ordinate the UK's response. Filipe Nyusi, the president of Mozambique, said more than 1,000 people are feared dead in the country four days after the cyclone hit. Tents and thousands of shelter kits will be sent to the country on Tuesday, and Ms Mordaunt said the UK stands ready to "scale up our support if needed". ...
Ms Mordaunt said: "I have made £6 million of UK aid available to help meet the immediate needs of people who have lost everything. "We have deployed a UK team of Dfid experts who are now on the ground in Mozambique helping to co-ordinate the UK's response to this disaster, and we hope to have vital UK aid supplies in the region shortly. We stand ready to scale up our support if needed. "The images of loss and devastation following this deadly cyclone and extreme weather are shocking. The people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe should know that they are firmly in our thoughts at this difficult time, and that the UK stands by their side."
Cyclone Idai made landfall close to the port city of Beira on Thursday with winds of up to 106 mph, but aid teams only reached the city on Sunday.
Images from CNN:
More images at source: https://us.cnn.com/2019/03/18/world/gallery/cyclone-idai-gallery/index.html
Cyclone Idai: 1,000 people may be dead, says Mozambique president
By Clyde Hughes and Darryl Coote
Updated March 18, 2019 at 10:42 PM
March 18 (UPI) -- Cyclone Idai may have killed a 1,000 people in Mozambique, President Filipe Nyusi said, and 100,000 more are still at risk. …
Nyusi fears the death toll for his country will skyrocket after having taken a flight over affected areas and seen bodies floating in flooded towns. "The waters of the Pungue and Buzi overflowed their banks making entire villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating," he said. "A real disaster of great proportions."
Making matters worse is the U.N. is projecting heavy rainfall until Thursday for Sofala and Manica provinces, which have already been devastated as a bridge over the Buzi River that connected several districts in both provinces with the rest of the country has been destroyed. The National Directorate of Water Resources is recommending people in flood-prone areas to evacuate to higher ground immediately. …
The city remains cut-off from the surrounding areas as the storm has rendered major roads impassable, according to the U.N. … Mozambique information minister Nick Mangwawa said the army and air force have been deployed for rescue efforts, as have private and public ambulances.
About 24 hrs from now the remnant is shown to exit eastwards in almost the same location where the eye-wall first made contact with land (as ECMWF had originally predicted) then it dissipates fairly quickly to the NE (also as originally predicted by the ECMWF model).
Cyclone Idai Poised to Become Southern Hemisphere’s Deadliest Tropical Storm, With More Than 1,000 Feared Dead
Today 1:30pm [posted here morning of March 20th 2019]
… Cyclone Idai is on track to becoming the deadliest tropical cyclone on record for the Southern Hemisphere. The deadliest storm on record in the Southern Hemisphere is Cyclone Leon-Eline in 2000, which killed some 800 people in this same region, …
... A tropical disturbance over land dumped one to two feet of rain over Mozambique some two weeks back, with one station recording 11 inches in just 12 hours March 7, he said. Once that disturbance moved over the water, Cyclone Idai formed. …
“Cyclone Idai underlines that no matter how effective early warnings are, there is still a huge demand for greater investment in resilient infrastructure in many parts of the world if we are to break the cycle of disaster-response-recovery,” said United Nations Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori, in a statement.
BBC rescue video here:
New York Times has created some useful maps recording the affected area – word is finally beginning to get out about this storm’s terrible aftermath.
Mapping the Destruction of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique
By WEIYI CAI, ALLISON MCCANN and JUGAL K. PATEL
MARCH 19, 2019
… The storm made landfall about two weeks ago near Quelimane, a city about 190 miles northeast of Beira, as a tropical depression with torrential rain. Wind speeds were only around 40 miles per hour, and after a few days, the storm changed course and moved back into the ocean. … Over the past week, the storm rapidly strengthened — wind speeds picked up to about 70 miles per hour as the storm headed back in the direction of Mozambique.
On Thursday night, the cyclone struck Mozambique for a second time. This time, however, the storm barreled toward Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, … The storm destroyed “90 percent” of Beira, a city of about a half-million people, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Monday. Aerial footage showed people huddled on dry areas, waiting to be rescued. Mr. Nyusi said that overflowing rivers had submerged villages and isolated communities. He reported seeing floating bodies.
The current situation:
There may be nothing that can be done about millions of people living in swampy river deltas and on major flood plains, but Governments can engineer and build dams, roads, bridges and rail connections that won't be totally demolished by a major flood, and which people can evacuate along.
- I've begun to notice that the usual-suspects are already touting a CO2 induced greenhouse-effect as causation for this TC IDAI weather event within news reports. The coastline in areas north and south of Beira are littered with numerous geomorphological scars from prior and much larger cyclonic storm-surge deposits, erosion scours, and scars of associated major river flooding events. These scars all record significantly higher-energy storm events than this one, and they've been accumulating during the past thousand years or so. Such landform scars from earlier colossal cyclonic storms are Earth's 'early-warning' system. It's showing us that major tropical cyclonic storms which are significantly stronger events, are a normal part of the spectrum of weather possibilities for this coastline. In other words, the scale of Cyclone IDAI is anything but unique, 'new' or novel along the Mozambique channel coast. On the contrary, larger and more damaging storms have and will again take place in this same general area. Playing cheap games with severe weather events and breeding ignorance of them is IMHO, a very low act. I have little or no respect for unbalanced individuals or organizations who do it.
Finally the weather from TC IDAI has cleared to the NE.
Beira foreshore drone video at link:
Cyclone Idai: Death toll exceeds 500 as frantic rescue operation underway
The death toll in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi has exceeded 500, while 15,000 people still need rescuing.
Updated 1 hour ago
The death toll from Cyclone Idai that hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe has surpassed 500, and there are hundreds more feared dead. Rescue workers plucked more survivors from trees and roofs to safety on Thursday, a week after a cyclone ripped through southern Africa and triggered devastating floods that have killed hundreds of people and displaced hundreds of thousands. Helicopters whirred above the turbid, reddish-brown flood waters searching for people to ferry back to the port city of Beira, the main headquarters for the huge rescue operation in Mozambique. The death toll in that country was now 242, Land and Environment Minister Celso Correia said, adding that the number of dead was rising as rescue workers found bodies that had been hidden by now-receding floodwaters. Correia told a news conference earlier that around 15,000 people, many of them very ill, still need to be rescued. “Our biggest fight is against the clock,” he said, adding that 3,000 people had been rescued so far.
In neighboring Zimbabwe, the death toll from Cyclone Idai jumped to 259. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), which is coordinating food drops, said 200,000 Zimbabweans would need urgent food aid for three months. In Malawi 56 people were confirmed dead. “This is a human catastrophe of the highest order,” businessman Graham Taylor told Reuters, saying he had seen “hundreds of bodies that had been washed up by the floodwater” while trying to return home after visiting his son in Beira. “What struck me first was the number of people on the rooftops and in trees. You could hear communities shouting for help - for hours, for days,” said Taylor, who also described meeting people on the badly damaged highways heading toward the devastated areas in search of family members. “It was a humbling experience,” he said. “I saw no sign of government assistance.”
Even when people are safely out of the floods, the situation is dire. Some 30 percent of the 88 centers set up by the government for displaced people still have no food, Environment Minister Correia said. Mozambique’s National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) said some 358,000 hectares of crops had been destroyed. Thirty-nine hospitals had been damaged, it said.
A priority for Thursday was pushing into flooded areas that had not yet been surveyed, said Connor Hartnady, leader of a South African rescue task force. Rescuers also want to move people from a basketball stadium near the Buzi River - one of the worst affected areas - to a village on higher ground, where aid organizations are setting up a temporary camp with a capacity of up to 600, he said. Days after the disaster struck, aid agencies were struggling to meet the needs of displaced people.
UN launches appeal
The UN launched an appeal for assistance overnight. "We do not yet know enough about the level of destruction to give an accurate estimate of the amount of this call for funds, but it will be important," spokesman Farhan Haq said at UN headquarters in New York. Aid agencies said they were prepared for the cyclone but not for the massive floods that followed.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said it was sending two emergency units to Beira that would provide drinking water for up to 15,000 people and sanitation facilities for 20,000 people, as well as shelter kits. “More help is needed, and we are continuing to do all we can to bring in more resources and to reach more people,” said Jamie LeSueur, the IFRC’s operations head in Mozambique.
The WFP stepped up airdrops of high-energy biscuits and water purification tablets to isolated pockets of people stranded by the floodwaters.
The US military stands ready to help the cyclone rescue effort, a representative of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said, according to the minutes of a humanitarian meeting held on Wednesday. China, a major investor in Mozambique, also expressed its willingness to help, Portugal’s Lusa news agency reported.
The Christian charity Tearfund said the timing of the floods was disastrous, with harvesting due to start in coming weeks. Even before the floods, 5.3 million people had been experiencing food shortages, said its Zimbabwe director, Earnest Maswera. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, who declared three days of national mourning starting on Wednesday, has said the eventual death toll from the cyclone and ensuing floods could rise to more than 1,000.
Mozambique’s tiny $13 billion economy is still recovering from a currency collapse and debt default.
The cyclone knocked out Mozambican electricity exports to South Africa, exacerbating power cuts that are straining businesses in Africa’s most industrialized economy.
Cyclone Idai: Africa now has an 'inland ocean' where villages once stood
A week after Cyclone Idai hit coastal Mozambique and swept across the country to Zimbabwe, the death, damage and flooding continues in southern Africa, making it one of the most destructive natural disasters in the region's recent history. Floodwaters are rushing across the plains of central Mozambique, submerging homes, villages and entire towns. The flooding has created a muddy inland ocean 50 kilometers wide where there used to be farms and villages, giving credence to Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi's estimate that 1,000 people may have been killed.
'We're hoping to rescue as many as we can'
Torrential rains lifted — at least temporarily — Thursday, and floodwaters began to recede in Beira, the worst-hit city, and in the countryside, according to a Mozambican government report. Aid groups were working non-stop to rescue families clinging to tree branches and rooftops for safety from the surging waters. "Yesterday, 910 people were rescued by the humanitarian community," said Caroline Haga of the International Federation of the Red Cross in Beira. She said 210 were rescued by five helicopters and 700 were saved by boats. "We're hoping to rescue as many as we can today as it is not raining," she said. "Rescue activities will continue until everyone is brought to safety." Aid organizations are trying to get food, water and clothing. It will be days before Mozambique's inundated plains drain toward the Indian Ocean and even longer before the full scale of the devastation is known.
Zimbabwe's eastern mountains have been deluged and the rain is continuing. Aid has been slow to reach affected villagers due to collapsed infrastructure, although the military has been handing out small packets of cooking oil, maize meal and beans. Zimbabwean officials have said some 350 people may have died in their country. The force of the flood waters swept some victims from Zimbabwe down the mountainside into Mozambique, officials said.
With the search for survivors finished, Philemon Dada is has begun rebuilding his life in Chimanimani, once a picturesque town. With a machete and a hoe, he began salvaging poles from the mud to construct a hut to shelter his small family, a first step in what he sees as a long and backbreaking journey to rebuild a life shattered by Cyclone Idai. He is one of many villagers trying to pick up the pieces in Chimanimani after losing homes, livestock and, in many instances, family members. Some have been taken in by neighbors and others are sheltering with church pastors. "I can say I am a bit lucky, my wife and son are still here with me but for everything else, I have to start from scratch," he said. Dada has a few food items handed out by the Zimbabwe military, but he knows that like most aid it is unlikely to last long, and he is eager to start growing crops again. Like many people here, he survives on agriculture. **"My bean crop was ready for harvesting before the cyclone, the maize was close. I am back to zero," **he said. He is particularly pained by his two prized bulls that did the heavy work of drawing the plow for his field. They were killed in the floods. "It may take a year, maybe even more years just to get back on my feet," he said.
China to provide humanitarian aid to cyclone-hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi
Xinhua, March 22, 2019
The China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) Thursday said in Beijing that China will provide humanitarian assistance to cyclone-hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Without unveiling the details about the assistance, CIDCA spokesperson Tian Lin said the Chinese side expresses condolences to the affected people and is ready to offer a hand for the reconstruction work in the cyclone-stricken countries according to the needs of the affected areas. At least 360 people have been confirmed dead in the wake of Cyclone Idai's sweep through southern Africa, according to a UN spokesperson on Wednesday.