Nasa satellite image showing the arrival of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. -AFP
People living in one of Mozambique's largest cities have been cut off by a huge storm. Cyclone Idai, which is carrying heavy rains and winds of up to 170 km/h (106 mph), made landfall at the port city of Beira on Thursday evening.
Its 500,000 residents are now without electricity and communications have been severed, the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) says. "Houses and trees were destroyed and pylons downed," the agency told AFP. The coastal town of Chinde, 400 km (250 miles) north-east of Beira was also badly hit, the INGC says. No deaths or injuries have been reported. The cyclone is expected to move west to Malawi and Zimbabwe over the weekend.
It follows a week of storms and heavy rains in in Mozambique and Malawi that have killed more than 100 people and destroyed thousands of homes. Beira is the fourth-largest city in Mozambique and its port sits on the mouth of the Pungwe river, that runs to Zimbabwe. Mozambique has been struck by severe cyclones in the past, including Eline in 2000, when 350 people died and 650,000 were displaced across the wider region.
Beira has often seen the worst of the storms and has worked to limit the effects of rising waters brought about by climate change through a series of infrastructure projects.The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, a group linked to the World Bank and the UN, says Mozambique is the third most at-risk country in Africa when it comes to extreme weather.
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