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The Mozambican Council of Ministers is meeting in the city of Beira to assess the impact of Cyclone Idai, which hit the centre of the country and, according to the head of state, is feared to have caused more than 1,000 deaths.
“In view of this dramatic scenario, the government decided to hold the ninth session of the Council of Ministers tomorrow [Tuesday] in the city of Beira to monitor and assess the situation on the ground,” Filipe Nyusi said in a statement to the nation.
In a report for Mozambique state-owned broadcaster TVM, Atanasio Marcos writes: “As from tomorrow, the government is literally be working in Beira to coordinate search and rescue”.
This cabinet session is expected to take major decisions in regard to Idai’s aftermath.
Yesterday, President Nyusi said that the death toll from Cyclone Idai could exceed 1,000, noting that “the country is experiencing a major humanitarian disaster”.
“So far, formally, there are more than 84 casualties, but it appears that we could see more than 1,000 deaths,” the president said.
The cyclone, with heavy rains and winds of up to 170 kilometres per hour, hit Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, on Thursday night, leaving about 500,000 residents without power and communications.
The Mozambican head of state added that more than 100,000 people in the region were in a life-threatening situation, with entire villages missing and communities cut off by floods.
Frelimo, Mozambique’s ruling party, has postponed a Central Committee meeting scheduled for March 22 to 24 in order to focus on the national emergency caused by Cyclone Idai.
More than 1.5 million people have been affected in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe by the tropical cyclone, which has caused at least 222 deaths in the region, according to government estimates.
The Malawian government estimates that more than 920,000 people have been affected in 14 districts, including 460,000 children. At least 56 deaths have been officially recorded, along with 577 injured.
In Zimbabwe, initial estimates by the authorities are of about 1,600 houses and 8,000 people affected in the Chimanimani district of Manicaland, with 23 deaths and 82 registered missing.
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