Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Residents warned as tropical cyclone Idai intensifies over Mozambique

A storm system lashes Mozambique Malawi floods kill 56, over 80000 displaced as cyclone approaches
Ellis Copeland | 15 March, 2019, 10:14

Tropical Cyclone Idai is shown approaching landfall in Mozambique late Thursday.

Regions of Mozambique have also already been affected by 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. But Mozambique is one of the most disaster-prone countries in Africa, and climate change is increasing the severity of flooding events there - as it is almost everywhere.

That would make it the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in Mozambique since Tropical Cyclone Eline which struck the country in February 2000, claiming at least 800 lives.

Some 62 975 people were affected by the floods in the provinces of Niassa, Tete and Zambezia. Not only this, over 168 000 hectares of crops have been destroyed in Mozambique alone. Almost 1.6 million people are estimated to live in areas that could be impacted by high wind speeds ( 120km/h), according to the latest analysis from UNOSAT.

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

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries from the cyclone Idai, which dumped more water and brought destruction on areas where scores have already been killed and tens of thousands displaced by floods over the past week.

"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".

Mozambique has cancelled flights to several domestic destinations as a tropical cyclone, potentially the strongest to hit the country in almost two decades, approached threatening to bring chaos to southern Africa. With the current population of Beira believed to be 250,000 and gusts of winds estimated to be over 250km/hour, Cyclone Idai is expected to be the largest the area has seen in a decade.

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