Mozambique president says cyclone death toll could exceed 1,000

Published March 19, 2019, 12:43 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Agence France-Presse

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Monday warned that the death toll from a cyclone that smashed into the country’s central provinces last week could climb to more than a thousand.

“For the moment we have registered 84 deaths officially, but when we flew over the area … this morning to understand what’s going on, everything indicates that we could register more than 1,000 deaths,” he said in a nationwide address.

He cited a body floating in the water as he flew over.

“This is a real humanitarian disaster,” he said as he estimated that “more than 100,000 people are in danger”.

Aerial photographs released by a Christian non-profit organization Mission Aviation Fellowship, showed groups of people stuck on rooftops with flood waters up to window level.

Local authorities and humanitarian aid organizations have warned that the biggest threat now is flooding as dams are full and rivers have burst their banks.

Nyusi said more than 400 people were rescued from flooded areas on Monday.