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Southern Africa: they’ve had cyclones before, but climate change increases the intensity

Cyclone Idai: The worst humanitarian crisis in Mozambique’s history | DW News

‘Bodies are floating’: Cyclone Idai leaves trail of destruction with more than a million affected, news.com.au Stephanie Bedo and Ben Graham, MARCH 20, 2019

They can’t even count the dead in a city of 500,000 people as chilling images show the unprecedented disaster is far from over.

Countless people have been killed and almost a million left destitute after what could be one of the worst weather-related disasters in the southern hemisphere.

A national disaster has been declared after Cyclone Idai left a trail of death, destruction and homelessness in southern Africa.

Where once streets teemed with life, only the swamped shells of homes are left in the wake of the devastation that has affected millions in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Footage taken from the skies over Mozambique’s central port city of Beira, a city of half a million people, shows there is no discernible trace of life left.

More than 90 per cent of the city was destroyed as 170km/h winds tore across southeastern Africa, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

If the worst fears are realised … then we can say that it is one of the worst weather-related disasters, tropical-cyclone-related disasters in the southern hemisphere,” said Clare Nullis of the UN World Meteorological Organisation.

Emergency workers called it the region’s most destructive flooding in 20 years, and heavy rains are expected to continue until Thursday. In the low-lying coastal city of Beira, the water has nowhere to drain. “This is not going to go away quickly,” Ms Nullis said.

In Mozambique, the rapidly rising floodwaters created “an inland ocean,” endangering tens of thousands of families, aid workers said as they scrambled to rescue survivors and airdrop food, water and blankets to survivors.

Those left clinging to life amid the ruins could be battered by eight-metre waves during high tides over the coming days. Herve Verhoosel of the World Food Program said the crisis “is getting bigger by the hour”.

…. The official death toll of Cyclone Idai — the deadliest storm in generations to hit Mozambique and Zimbabwe — more than doubled to more than 350 overnight, but that is expected to rise again, dramatically.

…… The waters of the Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, making whole villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating,” said Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi.

Mr Nyusi said Idai, which ripped through the impoverished southeast African country of 30 million people on Thursday, was a “disaster of great proportions”.

The cyclone struck the Indian Ocean city of Beira late that day and then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, with strong winds and torrential rain lashing the region.

But it has taken days for the scope of the disaster to begin to emerge in Mozambique, which has a poor communication and transportation network and a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy.

……United Nations officials said on Tuesday that more than 2.6 million people had been affected and $28 million had been allocated to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi from its emergency response fund. …….. https://www.news.com.au/world/africa/more-than-1000-feared-dead-from-cyclone-in-mozambique/news-story/193caf3fb1ac18040e2891964f969e27

March 21, 2019 - Posted by | AFRICA, climate change

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