Only 84 deaths were so far confirmed in Mozambique as a result of Cyclone Idai, which also left a trail of death and destruction across Zimbabwe and Malawi, with vast areas of land flooded, roads destroyed and communication wiped out.
Speaking on Radio Mozambique, President Filipe Nyusi said he had flown over the affected region, where two rivers had overflowed. Villages had disappeared, he said, and bodies were floating in the water. “Everything indicates that we can register more than 1000 deaths,” he said.
The cyclone had also killed 89 people in Zimbabwe, an official said yesterday, while the death toll in Malawi stood at 56.
Caroline Haga, a senior International Federation of the Red Cross official who is in Beira, said the situation could be far worse in the surrounding areas, which remained completely cut off by road and where houses were not as sturdy. Nyusi flew over areas that were otherwise accessible, and some of which had been hit by flooding before Cyclone Idai.