President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sympathy to families who have lost loved ones, homes and means of livelihood in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi as Tropical Cyclone Idai takes a toll on Southern Africa.
The President, in a statement by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said that he shared in the pain and struggle of the governments and people in the region who have been working hard to ensure safety of citizens and minimize the devastating effect of the cyclone.
He assured the governments and people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi of the prayers and support of Nigeria as they pass through the trying period, while commending all the humanitarian organisations for their interventions.
The Tropical Cyclone Idai, according to reports, cut off Beira, in South Africa, with a population of more than 500,000 people. The city’s infrastructure has been severely damaged.
According to the leader of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) team, Jamie LeSueur: “the scale of devastation (in Beira) is enormous. It seems that 90 per cent of the area is completely destroyed.”
In all, about 215 people have been killed in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. More than 1.5 million people in Southern African countries are affected. The Mozambican government fears the death toll could reach even 1 000.
In Zimbabwe, Reuters reports that the Chimanimani district has been cut off from the rest of the country by torrential rains and winds of up to 170 km per hour that swept away roads, homes and bridges and knocked out power and communication lines.
The Malawi government declared a state of emergency after more than 50 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced by flooding according to local media. Both the Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and the Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa cut short foreign trips and returned home to to deal with emergencies.