At least 300 people have died due to Tropical Cyclone Idai as of Wednesday morning (local time), March 20, with significant damage reported across central and northern Mozambique, southern Malawi, and eastern Zimbabwe. According to UN authorities, the storm killed at least 202 people in Mozambique, around 100 in Zimbabwe, and 56 in Malawi in addition to more than 120 people killed when Idai made its first landfall earlier in March. Hundreds more are missing and hundreds of thousands are displaced across the region; an estimated 2.5 million people are in need of immediate assistance, according to the UN. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported that approximately 90 percent of Beira (Sofala province, Mozambique) was damaged or destroyed.
Severe, widespread damage has been reported across the area, including floodwaters up to 6 m (20 ft) and significant damage to infrastructure, including roads. Power and telecommunication outages are expected to persist in the coming days and weeks. Beira Airport (BEW) is above the floodwaters and being used for humanitarian operations. Limited access to food, clean water, and healthcare is likely across much of the affected areas.
Tropical Cyclone Idai first made landfall in Mozambique on March 4 and moved over southern Malawi, shortly after forming, before moving back over the Mozambique Channel. It then strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane. It made its second landfall near Beira late on Thursday, March 14, and moved inland over central Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, anticipate flooding and associated transportation disruptions, including road closures, limited access to healthcare services and other basic necessities, and remember that floodwater may contain wastewater and chemical products; all items having come into contact with floodwater should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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