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Cyclone set to hit Mozambique hard tonight, dozens already killed

15 March 2019

At least 115 people were killed in Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa after heavy rains affected 843 000 people across southeast Africa, officials and the United Nations said, prompting calls for emergency aid. But Mozambique is one of the most disaster-prone countries in Africa, and climate change is increasing the severity of flooding events there - as it is almost everywhere.

About 62 975 people were affected by the floods in Mozambique.

Flooding from the storm's first round inundated almost 650 square miles, destroyed 18 hospitals, 938 classrooms and injured 122 people.

More than 168,000 hectares (415,000 acres) of crops were destroyed, the government spokeswoman added.

Some 62 975 people were affected by the floods in the provinces of Niassa, Tete and Zambezia.

Tropical Cyclone Idai, which formed over the Northern Mozambique Channel on 9 March, is expected to make landfall near Beira on 14 or 15 March.

Authorities there have ordered the compulsory evacuation of people living in flood-prone areas.

"The government needs 1.1 billion meticais (US$16m) to assist 80 000 families affected by the rains".

"Gusts of winds estimated to be over 250km hour are set to lash the coastline with an expected rainfall of 300 - 350ml".

Nkhokwe said the and strong winds are expected to start from Thursday to Sunday mainly over southern areas of Malawi which are at a risk for locally damaging winds, flooding and significant travel disruptions as the Tropical Cyclone makes its way to Zimbabwe where it is expected to weaken and die on 18th March. Floods in 2000 claimed at least 800 lives while more than 100 were killed in 2015.

Tropical cyclones spin clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere, putting the city of half a million on the extremely risky and more intense side of the storm's eyewall, the zone of most powerful winds and where storm surge is maximized.

The category 4 cyclone is due to make landfall on Thursday afternoon.

Cyclone set to hit Mozambique hard tonight, dozens already killed