Some say over 90% of port city Beira has been decimated. People from Zimbabwe and Malawi have been washed down the mountain-side into Mozambique. In Beira, home to Mozambique’s second largest port which serves as gateway for imports to landlocked countries in southeast Africa, billboards were blown down and electricity and telephone poles knocked down.
The 500,000 residents of the city, which has some neighborhoods that are below sea level, were scrambling for food, fuel and medicine.
“The power of the cyclone is visible everywhere, with shipping containers moved like little Lego blocks,” said Marc Nosbach, Mozambique country director for the aid group CARE.
The chairman of the African Union Commission said it would provide $350,000 in immediate support to the countries, and the United Nations allocated $20 million.
The European Union released $3.9 million in emergency aid, and Britain pledged up to $7.9 million. Tanzania’s military has sent 238 tons of food and medicine, and three Indian naval ships have been diverted to Beira to help with evacuations and other efforts.
Hunger and illness were growing concerns, with crops destroyed and waterborne diseases likely to spread.
Cyclone Idai destroyed Beira with winds of up to 194 km per hour (120 miles per hour) a week ago, then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, flattening buildings. The storm’s torrential rains caused the Buzi and Pungue rivers, whose mouths are in the Beira area, to burst their banks.
Mozambique’s National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) said some 358,000 hectares (885,000 acres) of crops had been destroyed. Thirty-nine hospitals had been damaged, it said.
The country’s tiny $13 billion economy is still recovering from a currency collapse and debt default.
The cyclone knocked out Mozambican electricity exports to South Africa, exacerbating power cuts that were already straining businesses in Africa’s most industrialized economy.
The Department of Foreign Affairs at Travel Wise issued an alert, singling out which regions were worst affected and advising citizens to avoid any non-essential travel to Mozambique. Sofala, Manica, Zambezia, Tete & Inhambane provinces have seen heavy rainfall & flooding following Cyclone Idai.