Johannesburg, South Africa (ADV) – Some countries with the SADC region have been hit by a powerful tropical storm that made landfall on Thursday evening, pommelling a coastal city with heavy rain and wind at speeds of up to 170 km an hour and injuring several people, according to Reuters.
In Beira, a city of around 500,000 people and a gateway for imports to landlocked countries in southeast Africa, Twitter images and television footage showed billboards and rooftops blown off, trees snapped and electricity cables strewn across the streets.
In the northern Zambezi province, villages along the coastline were cut off from the mainland by the storm surge.
Mozambican television channel TVM reported that at least five people had been seriously injured.
Cyclone Idai dumped more water and brought destruction on areas where scores of people have already been killed and tens of thousands displaced by floods over the past week.
According to United Nations at least 115 people were killed in Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa after heavy rains affected 843,000 people across southeast Africa, prompting calls for emergency aid.
The floods in Mozambique, one of Africa’s poorest countries, have already destroyed 5,756 homes, affecting 15,467 households and 141,325 people.
Malawi’s Meteorological Department has warned of more rains and flooding in the country’s south between Thursday and Sunday.
More than 168,000 hectares (415,000 acres) of crops were destroyed, the government spokeswoman added.
Authorities there have ordered the compulsory evacuation of people living in flood-prone areas.
As it moves inland on Friday, the weather system will weaken but is still expected to result in significant rainfall and widespread flooding over the Sofala and Manica provinces, the extreme eastern parts of Zimbabwe and southern parts of Malawi, the South African Weather Service said.
Mozambique has seen deadly floods worsened by devastating hurricanes in the past, including in 2000 and 2007. Cyclone Eline, which hit the country in February 2000 when it was already devastated by its worst floods in three decades, killed 350 people and made 650,000 homeless across southern Africa.
Mozambique has significant offshore liquefied natural gas projects underway in the north, but these are currently out of harm’s way.
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