Maputo/Harare - The death toll in Mozambique after cyclone Idai tore through the region at the weekend could reach up to 1 000, President Filipe Nyusi told Radio Mocambique on Monday.
Following a visit to the disaster zone, he said 84 deaths had been confirmed, but information from rescuers and damage viewed from the air led him to fear that up to 1 000 people had been killed.
The category-4 storm made landfall on Friday after brewing in the Indian Ocean, bringing up to 160-kilometre-per-hour winds to central Mozambique before weakening slightly and heading towards Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's deputy minister of information, Energy Mutodi, said on Monday that 89 people have been killed in his country - more than double what was reported there at the weekend.
Idai devastated the Mozambican city of Beira, with Red Cross and Red Crescent helpers reporting that 90 per cent of buildings had been destroyed following an aerial assessment.