Cyclone Idai batters Mozambique coastal city, several injured

The initial system killed at least 66 people due to flooding in Mozambique, Agence France-Presse reported.

In February 2000, Cyclone Eline hit Mozambique when it was already devastated by its worst floods in three decades.

In Mozambique and neighboring Malawi, 122 people have died in cyclone-related rains according to a United Nations briefing issued on Thursday, making Idai the deadliest extreme weather event on Earth so far in 2019.

The cyclone, named Tropical Cyclone Idai, is gathering strength over the Indian Ocean and is predicted to hit the country in the city of Beira in Sofala Province.

"Whenever we get tropical cyclones, it draws moisture away from the country, but this one - because it's further south - there's some moisture of the north eastern Limpopo", said Maliage.

Before the storm formed over the Mozambique Channel this week, it was a disturbance that settled over the region and unleashed torrential rains the flooded much of the two neighboring countries.

Winds of 167 km/h have accompanied the tropical storm IDAI.

According to the Mozambique National Institute for Disaster Management, the National Operational Emergency Centre (CENOE) is prepared for extreme weather events and in 2017, the CENOE demonstrated the use of drones to allow teams to assess the impact and scale of natural disasters. But Mozambique is one of the most disaster-prone countries in Africa, and climate change is increasing the severity of flooding events there - as it is almost everywhere.

South African disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers said it was on high alert and waiting for a call from the Mozambican government.

And according to reports, the tropical cylcone was packing winds of more than 200km per hour.

Weather service Windy.com showed that the storm was off the east coast of Mozambique, with winds already in excess of 100km/h.

"A team of 15 rescuers, including rescue technicians, advanced life support paramedics, and lifeguards, are on their way with six 4×4 vehicles, boats, and jet skis to assist the community".

  • Rogelio Becker