Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been hit by a vicious cyclone that has killed almost 150 people, left hundreds more missing and stranded tens of thousands who are cut off from roads and telephones in mainly poor, rural areas.
Joshua Sacco, an MP in Zimbabwe's Chimanimani district, told the French news agency AFP that most of the fatalities were from Chimanimani East. Around 100 houses had been swept away in Ngangu township in Chimanimani town, he said. There were people inside. Some 40 people are missing.
Meanwhile a spokesman for Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, Jacob Mafume, tweeted that a "serious humanitarian crisis" is unfolding in the country's eastern districts.
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The Manicaland province of Zimbabwe, which boarders Mozambique, has been heavily affected, with many bridges and other structures having washed away from the natural disaster, IOL reported.
Local officials in Mozambique said that heavy rains earlier in the week, before the cyclone struck, had already claimed another 66 lives, injured scores and displaced 17,000 people.
Chimanimani, which borders Mozambique, has been worst affected, with the storm causing floods as well as destroying crops, Zimbabwe's Ministry of Information said.
The rain also affected neighboring Malawi, where 56 people died, the government said.
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"We have compatriots suffering without hope and we have to restore hope", he said on Friday as he set off on a three-day state visit to the kingdom that was previously known as Swaziland. This was revealed by Acting President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga when he sent a message of condolences to the affected families following the cyclone disaster that has so far claimed 31 lives and left over 100 unaccounted for.
"The situation is dire but we don't know the exact particulars", said Jamie LeSueur, the Red Cross's roving emergency operations manager for Africa.
It would require "the full force of the humanitarian community behind the government of Mozambique to respond to rapidly", he told AFP.
Hardest hit is Mozambique's central port city of Beira where the airport is closed, electricity is out and many homes have been destroyed.
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Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi said the damage is "very worrisome" and said the flooding made it hard for aircraft to land and carry out rescue operations, according to Mozambique's state radio.
The storm damaged a Mozambican transmission line to South Africa, cutting supplies by 900 MW and worsening an electricity shortage in SA.
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