PRESIDENT Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique says the death toll from the Cyclone disaster that occurred in some parts of the country on Sunday could rise to 1,000.
Official records so far put the number of casualties at 215 in Central Mozambique and continued to Zimbabwe and Malawi.
“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,” President Nyusi said during a nationwide address on Monday.
According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at least 126 people were killed in Mozambique and Malawi, and Zimbabwe’s information ministry on Monday said put the number of dead in the country at 89.
The Mozambican city of Beira was the worst hit by the disaster − now referred to as Cyclone Idai − as 90 percent of the city was destroyed the IFRC stated.
“The scale of damage caused by Cyclone Idai that hit the Mozambican city of Beira is massive and horrifying,” the group stated, adding that the death toll is expected to rise once the full scale of the devastation has been known.
Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb reported that hundreds are missing and more than 1.5 million people have been affected by the widespread destruction and flooding.
“The damage is extensive even 300 km [from the cyclone’s landing area] where we are. Hundreds of houses are destroyed in this district alone. People are sheltering in schools or with neighbours,” Webb reported.
In Zimbabwe, Cyclone Idai destroyed parts of the eastern and southern regions of the country creating a humanitarian crisis in a nation grappling with economic woes and a drought.
A government official said on Monday that Chimanimani district has been cut off from the rest of the country by torrential rains and winds of up to 170km an hour that swept away roads, homes, and bridges and knocked out power and communication lines.
A United Nations humanitarian agency says 5.3 million people will require food aid in the country.