Published: Sat, March 16, 2019

At least 24 dead, dozens missing in Zimbabwe after cyclone

At least 24 dead, dozens missing in Zimbabwe after cyclone

As many as 100 people are reportedly missing in Zimbabwe following a cyclone that has killed at least 24 people.

Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been hit by a vicious cyclone that has killed more than 140 people, left hundreds more missing and stranded tens of thousands who are cut off from roads and telephones in mainly poor, rural areas. Elsewhere in Chimanimani, 13 Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) staff in Mawenje who moved to the mountain are waiting for rescue teams, while 67 houses have been damaged in Chipinge leaving at least 5 families homeless in the district. There were people inside. "There were people inside", he told AFP, saying they were listed as missing.

Meanwhile a spokesman for Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, Jacob Mafume, tweeted that a "serious humanitarian crisis" is unfolding in the country's eastern districts.

Malawi has also been affected by the natural disaster, where 56 lives were claimed by aggressively heavy rains earlier this week.

Local officials said that this week's heavy rains claimed 66 lives, injured 111 people and displaced 17,000 people.

Heavy downpours in neighbouring Malawi this week have affected nearly a million people and claimed 56 lives there, according to the latest government toll.

Zimbabwe's ministry of information has been posting updates on social media and has announced that the country's national army was leading rescue efforts in the affected areas.

The boarding school has been shut and the army, which is leading rescue operations, is moving in to take the almost 200 students to safety.

The cyclone hit Mozambique with winds of up to 177km/h (106 mph).

"We have compatriots suffering without hope and we have to restore hope", he said on Friday as he set off on a three-day state visit to the kingdom previously known as Swaziland.

It would require "the full force of the humanitarian community behind the government of Mozambique to respond to rapidly", he told AFP.

Beira's global airport was closed after the cyclone made landfall, damaging the air traffic control tower, the navigation systems and the runways.

South Africa's military has sent in aircraft and 10 medical personnel to help in Mozambique and Malawi, it said in a statement on Saturday.

An official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) of Mozambique told AFP on Friday "there is extreme havoc".

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