Satellite images unveil the extent of flooding in Mozambican city of Beira as thousands remain trapped
Over the last couple of days, Cyclone Idai swept through the south-east African nations of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. What is being observed as the most destructive cyclone to hit Africa in over a decade has now killed hundreds. Thousands remain missing as rescue missions strive to gain control of the situation.
New Satellite images have further revealed the extent of flooding in the Mozambican city of Beira. Inhabiting over 500,000 people, the port city was struck by the cyclone last Friday. It has since been referred to as an “island in the Ocean.” According to experts, close to 90 percent of the city has been destroyed by the disaster. Recently released European Space Agency satellite images highlight the formation of an inland waterbody. The “lake”, created by the flooding, stretches across 125 km by 25 km.
Amid calming floods, the priority of rescuers has shifted from getting people out of the affected areas to supplying food to the rescued. As a result, many in Beira are still waiting to be rescued. Reportedly, they will soon be brought to the ground.
Mozambican Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia has asserted, “Our biggest fight is against the clock.” He affirmed that the authorities have rescued over three thousand people. Correia said over fifteen thousand were yet to be rescued in Beira.
Before leaving the port city for Zimbabwe and Malawi, Cyclone Idai unleashed winds of up to 170 kph. In Zimbabwe, the Chimanimani district has now become vulnerable to a severe food crisis. According to the World Food Programme, “It looks like the situation in Chimanimani – the hardest hit district in Zimbabwe – is very bad.” A spokesperson added, “Some 90% of the district has been significantly damaged.”
While the death toll in Malawi stands at fifty six, in Zimbabwe its close to a hundred people. Mozambique has witnessed the highest number of fatalities, estimated at over two hundred.