Mozambique’s president says Cyclone ‘may have killed 1,000 in Mozambique’

More than 1,000 people may have been killed after Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, President Filipe Nyusi has told national radio as  heavy rains continued to pound neighboring Zimbabwe where flooding left dozens more dead.

He said that although the official death toll was currently 84, he believes that more than 1,000 may have died.

Cyclone Idai made landfall on Thursday with winds of up to 177 km/h (106 mph) cauding loss of life and damage in southern Africa.

He spoke after flying over the hard-hit port city of Beira and viewing the flooding and devastation.

“It’s clear that the next few days could be worse,” Nyusi said in comments broadcast on state radio. “If more than 1,000 lives have been lost, we won’t be surprised.”

Mr Nyusi said he saw bodies floating in the flooded areas.

The Red Cross says the cyclone has had a “massive and horrifying” impact on Beira, the country’s fourth largest city with a population of about 500,000 people.

Mozambique’s worst-recorded flooding occurred in 2000, when Cyclone Leon-Eline struck the southern African nation. About 800 people died that year. The country is the third-most vulnerable on the continent to climate change, according to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.