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Cyclone Idai hits Zimbabwe, at least 31 people have died News



At least 31 people were killed and dozens missing in parts of eastern Zimbabwe after the country was hit by the tropical cyclone Idai, which whipped neighboring Mozambique and Malawi, the government said.

Cyclone Idai has influenced more than 1.5 million people in three countries in South Africa, according to the UN and government officials.

Houses, schools, businesses, hospitals, and police stations were destroyed. The roads were washed out and thousands were stranded by heavy flooding.

Zimbabwe's Minister of Information said on Saturday that deaths came mainly from Chimanimani East, including two students, while at least 40 other people were injured.

He added that the Zimbabwean National Army was making a rescue effort to send students from the damaged school and others who were trapped in a storm.

A group of people who fled their homes were "mined" at the top of the mountain, waiting to be rescued, but strong winds hampered helicopter flights.

Joshua Sacco, a member of Parliament in Chimanimani County, said at least 25 houses were swept away after landslide in Ngang.

"There were people inside," he told AFP. "The information we have so far is that more than 100 people are missing."

On Twitter, Jacob Mafume, spokesman Zimbabwe, the main party to the opposition movement for democratic change, warned that a "serious humanitarian crisis" is developing in eastern Zimbabwe.

In Mozambique, where Idai made land on Thursday, at least 19 people died and about 70 were seriously injured. The storm hit winds of about 160 kilometers per hour, causing ocean waves up to nine meters high.

Luis Fonseca, a journalist at Lusa, told al-Jazeera that the cyclone is expected to disappear in Mozambique on Saturday, but will continue to create difficulties.

"The problem now is that rivers are likely to flood all areas around, and this will cause even more damage to all these families they have [already] they lost their houses. "

"Now they risk losing their harvest and food insecurity is another big risk in this area," Fonseca explains.

Local officials in Mozambique said heavy rains earlier in the week, before the cyclone struck, already claimed another 66 lives, injured scores and displaced 17,000 people.

When the cyclone hit Mozambique, the authorities were forced to close the international airport in the port city of Beira after the air traffic control tower, navigation systems and tracks were destroyed by the storm.

The National Disaster Management Institute (NIDM) official told Mozambique on Friday that there is an extraordinary disaster.

"Some landing lights have been damaged, the navigation system is damaged, the tower control antennas and the control tower itself are damaged."

"The track is full of obstacles and parked planes are damaged."

The storm also brought a heavy downpour this week in neighboring Malawi, affecting nearly a million people and claiming 56 lives.

South Africathe army sent to the aircraft and 10 health workers to help in Mozambique and Malawi, she said in a statement on Saturday.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and the news agency


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