Cyclone Idai casualties continue to rise
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 3/22/19, 11:30 am
The death toll from Cyclone Idai, which struck southern Africa last week, has topped 500. Zimbabwe confirmed its number of casualties rose to 259, Mozambique reported 242 deaths, and Malawi reported another 56. The storm first hit Mozambique on March 14 before moving into Zimbabwe and Malawi. Aid workers expect the death toll to climb as they access more areas. Zimbabwean Defense Minister Oppah Muchinguri said the flooding washed more than 120 bodies into neighboring Mozambique, adding a “sizable number” of people remain missing. Zimbabwe called for two days of mourning to begin Saturday.
The floodwaters continued to recede Friday, but Gemma Connell, head of the UN humanitarian office for southern and eastern Africa, warned of the threat of additional flooding during the rainy season, which usually lasts through the end of March. Elhadj As Sy, the secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the area would need humanitarian assistance for a long time. “They are nowhere near the scale and magnitude of the problem,” he said. “And I fear we will be seeing more in the weeks and months ahead, and we should brace ourselves.”
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.