Presidents of Mozambique, Zimbabwe return home after cyclone

2019-03-17 18:15
(Twitter, Red Cross Zimbabwe)

(Twitter, Red Cross Zimbabwe)

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The presidents of Mozambique and Zimbabwe have returned home to deal with the effects of a powerful cyclone that has killed more than 150 people across southern Africa.

Hundreds more were missing on Sunday while tens of thousands were cut off from roads and telephones in mainly poor, rural areas.

Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, according to the UN and government officials.

Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa had both left for foreign trips just as the cyclone hit their respective countries. This drew criticism from some who thought they should have stayed at home to deal with a disaster whose overwhelming magnitude has not been experienced in years.

The International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies on Saturday said at least 126 people had died in Mozambique and Malawi. In Zimbabwe, 31 people have died from the floods, said the country's information ministry.

State radio in Mozambique reported that the president planned to visit affected areas after returning on Sunday from Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland.

Mozambique's central port city of Beira was hardest hit, with the airport closed and many homes destroyed. The storm hit Beira late Thursday and moved westward into Zimbabwe and Malawi, affecting thousands more, particularly in eastern areas bordering Mozambique.

Zimbabwe's president was returning home from the United Arab Emirates "to make sure he is involved directly with the national response by way of relief to victims of Cyclone Idai," the information ministry said on Sunday.

UN agencies and the Red Cross are helping with rescue efforts that include delivering food supplies and medicines by helicopter in the impoverished countries.

Read more on:    mozambique  |  zimbabwe  |  cyclone idai  |  weather  |  southern africa

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