CYCLONE BATTERS SOUTHERN MOZAMBIQUE, KILLING SEVEN

MAPUTO, Cyclone Dineo killed seven people, injured 55 and affected hundreds of thousands across southern Mozambique, the country’s natural disasters agency said.

More than 20,000 homes were destroyed by “winds and very strong rain”, the National Institute of Disaster Management said, adding that the search for survivors is ongoing.

The Wednesday storm has affected more than 650,000 people in the southeastern African country. Dineo’s impact was greatest in Inhambane, an area popular with tourists on Mozambique’s south east coast.

The city was struck by winds of more than 100 kilometres per hour and battered by torrential rain and rough seas. Nearly 1,000 classrooms and 70 health centres were destroyed.

Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, is often battered by deadly flooding and storms.

In 2000, floods claimed at least 800 lives, and more than 100 were killed in 2015.

Scores have already died in the current rainy season, which began in October.

Dineo was downgraded to a tropical depression on Thursday and renamed “ex-Dineo”.

The South Africa Weather Service warned that the storm still posed a threat of heavy rainfall and flooding as it headed inland into South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana on Friday.

Kruger National Park, the country’s premier safari destination, closed its gravel roads and several camps because of the storm. No major damage was reported.

According to data given to the International Red Cross by Mozambican authorities on Friday, 130,000 people were displaced by the storm, while 22,000 homes were partially or completely destroyed.

The storm also damaged 49 hospitals and health centres and 105 schools and public buildings.

The Red Cross and the Red Crescent sent emergency teams and materials to the affected areas, in particular to ward off serious health risks.

“The displacement of families, the interruption of health services related to severe flooding and water contamination present serious public health risks that need to be treated quickly,” said Jamie LeSueur, the Red Cross coordinator for southern Africa.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK