A cyclone in Mozambique may have killed over 1,000 people, the country’s president has said.
Filipe Nyusi said Cyclone Idai had caused mass devastation and predicted the current death toll of 84 would rise enormously.
Speaking to state radio after flying over the port city of Beira and viewing the flooding and devastation, Nyusi said he saw bodies floating in the flooded areas.
As the crisis mounted one charity said it was ‘possibly the deadliest cyclone ever recorded in the region’.
Beira has been severely battered by the cyclone which cut off electricity, forced the airport to shut down and cut off road access to the rest of the country.
The Red Cross said that 90 percent of Beira, a city of 500,000, had been damaged or destroyed.
Describing the cyclone’s impact as ‘massive and horrifying’ they said the scale of devastation was ‘enormous’.
The charity’s Jamie LeSueur said: ‘Almost everything is destroyed. Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible.
‘Beira has been severely battered. But we are also hearing that the situation outside the city could be even worse. Yesterday, a large dam burst and cut off the last road to the city.’
Cyclone Idai first hit Beira last week and then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.
More than 215 people have been killed by the storm according to official figures in the three countries, hundreds more are missing and more than 1.5 million people have been affected, according to the Red Cross and government officials.