Zimbabwe: 'Hundreds Missing' As Cyclone Idai Batters Zimbabwe

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"They are part of the missing", he said.

The state television station, ZBC, reported that 150 people remain unaccounted for.

Others who fled their homes were "marooned" on top of a mountain waiting to be rescued, but strong winds were hampering helicopter flights, the ministry said.

Earlier a lawmaker told AFP that thousands of people have been affected, power cut off and major bridges flooded.

Joshua Sacco, a member of Parliament in the eastern district of Chimanimani, told Reuters that the storm had left a trail of destruction reminiscent of Cyclone Eline in February 2000, which devastated southern Zimbabwe.

Among the casualties were two pupils and a security officer from St Charles Lwanga High School, and 10 victims from Ngangu Township in Chimanimani, which was the most affected.

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Jacob Mafume tweeted that there is a "serious humanitarian crisis" unfolding in eastern Zimbabwe districts.

Malawian President Peter Mutharika this week declared a natural disaster.

Destruction in Mozambique

Local officials said that this week's heavy rains claimed 66 lives, injured 111 people and displaced 17,000 people.

The WMO said the storm packed winds of 103 miles per hour and there was fear that it could hit Beira at the same time as high tide, which would worsen the flooding situation there.

"We have compatriots suffering without hope and we have to restore hope", he said on Friday as he set off on a three-day state visit to the kingdom previously known as Swaziland. The declaration, which also covers areas likely to be affected by the cyclone, allows the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) to support communities and provide relief.

"The situation is now dire and we are calling for emergency both locally and internationally", said Madiro, who is also the Zanu-PF provincial chairperson for Manicaland.

Hardest hit is Mozambique's central port city of Beira where the airport is closed, electricity is out and many homes have been destroyed.

"Some runway lights were damaged, the navigation system is damaged, the control tower antennas and the control tower itself are all damaged", an official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) told AFP on Friday.

"The runway is full of obstacles and parked aircrafts are damaged".

The storm damaged a Mozambican transmission line to South Africa, cutting supplies by 900 MW and worsening an electricity shortage in SA.

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