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DISASTER

Mozambique death toll at 217 after cyclone - minister

In Summary

• Cyclone Idai lashed the Mozambican port city of Beira with winds of up to 170 km per hour 

• It then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, flattening buildings and putting the lives of millions at risk. 

Two boarding school pupils are among 31 people to have been killed in eastern Zimbabwe.
Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique Two boarding school pupils are among 31 people to have been killed in eastern Zimbabwe.
Image: BBC

The death toll after a powerful cyclone in Mozambique stood at 217 and around 15,000 people still needed to be rescued, the Minister of Land and Environment Celso Correia said on Thursday.

Correia said 3,000 people had already been rescued.

Cyclone Idai lashed the Mozambican port city of Beira with winds of up to 170 km per hour (105 miles per hour) last Thursday, then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, flattening buildings and putting the lives of millions at risk. 

Mozambique started three days of national mourning on Wednesday.

Drone footage showed residents of a shantytown at the port still picking through wreckage days after the storm hit and trying to drag plastic sheeting over their ruined homes.

The film, released by the Red Cross, showed the settlement pockmarked with empty plots where the winds had blown whole buildings from their foundations.

“Great floods have sowed mourning and devastation in various areas of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi,” Pope Francis said on Wednesday.

“I express my pain and closeness to those dear people.”

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi said a day earlier that the cyclone had killed more than 200 people in his country but rescuers were still discovering more bodies.