Mozambique on high alert as cyclone looms

Mozambique Malawi Zimbabwe braced for Cyclone Idai

The cyclone is accompanied by strong winds and thunderstorms and is likely to cause massive destruction in Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland provinces.

The storm is expected to make landfall Thursday night near Beira, Mozambique's fourth largest city, with 530,000 residents. "Elsewhere, it should be partly cloudy", read the statement.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that the incoming storm could bring winds of up to 190 kilometres per hour.

The peak of the rainfall is expected between today and tomorrow according to the Met Department.

Now Malawi has been put on alert for more rain and flooding on Thursday when Tropical Cyclone Idai is expected to make landfall through Beira, in neighbouring Mozambique, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services said.

"We are expecting more than 100mm of rain in places; it could even reach 200mm or more in places".

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The MSD urged members of the public to follow official communication channels for accurate information and to ignore messages spread from unauthorised sources.

Cyclones are typical for Mozambique at this time of year, but there are concerns that the weather patterns have been increasing in intensity.

Will Cyclone Idai hit South Africa? More than a million people have already been directly affected by the disaster. Electricity and water may be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm. In Mozambique, authorities report needs related to food, water, shelter, education, seeds and health.

"For those living in cities and towns, the usual fire and ambulance services can be alerted in cases of emergencies". Storm-surge flooding may also spread farther up the river, inundating homes and businesses.

That would make it the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in Mozambique since Tropical Cyclone Eline which struck the country in February 2000, claiming at least 800 lives.

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