Mozambique braces for 'extremely dangerous' Cyclone Idai

16 March, 2019, 09:49 | Author: Carlos George
  • Tragedy Looms as Tropical Storm Idai Ravages Through Mozambique

A major cyclone the equivalent of a strong Category 2 hurricane approached the coast of Mozambique late Thursday, prompting residents to brace for what weather authorities have called a likely "worst case scenario".

"Tropical Cyclone Idai, which formed over the Northern Mozambique Channel on March 9, is expected to make landfall near Beira (eastern Mozambique) on March 14 or 15", said the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

A cyclone is expected to hit landfall in central Mozambique early Friday and aid groups are warning that tens of thousands of people could be displaced.

In Beira, a city of around 500,000 people and a gateway for imports to landlocked countries in southeast Africa, Twitter images and television footage showed billboards and rooftops blown off, trees snapped and electricity cables strewn across the streets. "In rural areas, communities should contact local police, councillors or nearest clinic".

At least 66 people have been killed in Mozambique, 56 in Malawi and four in South Africa following torrential rains that have triggered flash floods.

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The cyclone is centred near the city of Chimoio in Manica Province but it is not having a significant impact on South African weather.

Citing government officials and media reports, the United Nations said more than 100 people had already died in heavy rains and flooding in Mozambique and Malawi, where villages were left underwater and floods washed away houses and knocked out power in some areas. The storm packs sustained winds of 115 miles per hour and threatens a month's worth of rainfall for an already waterlogged region - the makings of a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

Mozambique has significant offshore liquefied natural gas projects underway in the north, but these were now out of harms way.

However, the release says the presence of dry air from surrounding landmasses and somewhat limited outflow are acting to constrain the intensification of the cyclone.

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