MAPUTO – Rescue teams recovered another 92 bodies, raising the death toll in Mozambique for Cyclone Idai to 294, although this is a preliminary figure, local authorities reported on Thursday.
A total of 47 bodies were found in Nhamatanda, in Sofala province, according to what regional administrator Toze Jose told the media on Thursday, and he added that there are other flooded neighborhoods that authorities have not yet been able to contact.
In the neighboring province of Manica, another 45 bodies were recovered from the floodwaters in Sussundenga district, Gov. Manuel Rodrigues said.
Intensive rescue, recovery and aid efforts continue with a large portion of the territory affected by the storm remaining flooded and tens of thousands of people being housed in emergency shelters until the situation improves and they can return to their homes.
Authorities estimate that some 60,000 people are waiting to receive aid just in Sofala province.
“It’s a complicated, difficult situation. Communications are not working. Yesterday, we discovered some flooded areas that we didn’t know about, making the affected zone much larger than had been thought,” Saviano Abre, the head of communications for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Mozambique, told the media.
“Almost 145 square kilometers (17.3 square miles) have been flooded,” Abre added.
Cyclone Idai swept across Mozambique from east to west, heading directly into Zimbabwe and affecting Malawi, wiping out towns and cities in its path of destruction. The Mozambique port city of Beira, with 600,000 people, was 90 percent destroyed, according to the International Red Cross.
Almost 500 people are known to have been killed by the storm.
In Zimbabwe, which was hit by Idai last Friday, the official death toll currently stands at 139, according to the latest government tally, but authorities fear that figure will increase when they can get access to the entire area affected by the cyclone.
The UN World Food Program made public its calculations of the total number of people affected by the storm, which was the worst ever to hit Africa.
Some 200,000 people suffered property damage from high winds and flooding in Zimbabwe and will urgently need assistance over the next three months and some 920,000 are in a similar situation in Malawi.
In Mozambique, the UN program is currently working with the figure of 600,000 people whose homes were damaged or ruined, but expectations are for that figure to rise to 1.7 million in areas affected by the massive flooding caused the storm.