Cyclone Idai death toll rises as more bodies found


Cyclone Idai death toll rises as more bodies found
Men retrieve the body of a teenager killed by mudslides triggered by Cyclone Idai, in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe, March 22, 2019. Hardest-hit Mozambique increased its death toll from the powerful storm to 493.

Aid agencies in central Mozambique are recovering more bodies in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai.

The powerful storm two weeks ago devastated parts of the country, along with large areas in neighboring Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving at least 783 people dead.

Mozambique says that in a related outbreak nearly 140 cholera cases have been detected in the city of Beira.

Aid agencies in the port city are scaling up their operations to feed the hungry and treat the sick. Helicopters fly in and out of Beira airport, the center of humanitarian relief operations for Cyclone Idai.

But aid agencies are also finding more bodies, says Mozambique’s Land and Environment Minister Celso Correia.

“In terms of the number who lost their lives, we increased to 493,” noting the number of dead in Mozambique alone.

“This is because we are getting information from the villages that we didn’t know before. Our main concern now is to avoid [a larger] outbreak of cholera. We will be vaccinating 800,000 people.”

In Beira, 139 cases of cholera have been reported so far. Meanwhile, areas of Mozambique’s cyclone-ravaged coast remain cut off by flooding that left many homeless, said Correia.

“We have 140,000 people in our camps, and we believe that we have 150,000 displaced people.

“We expect to have 1.8 million people affected by the storm and this number is because we have calculated the path of the cyclone took and satellite images to show that some damages in some areas we haven’t reached yet,” he said.

Cyclone Idai hit the center of Mozambique with powerful winds and rains that swamped entire villages and towns.

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