Mozambique braces for 'extremely dangerous' Cyclone Idai

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We were told yesterday that more than a hundred people were killed - and thousands were left homeless - in the flash flooding preceding the cyclone, earlier this week.

Mozambique cabinet spokesperson Ana Comoana said the "government has decreed a red alert due to the continuing rains and the approach of the tropical cyclone Idai, expected to reach the country between Thursday to Friday".

In February 2000, Cyclone Eline hit Mozambique when it was already devastated by its worst floods in three decades.

Ex-tropical cyclone Idai's eye has weakened significantly since landfall. "The main thing is wind damage and high waves that could go up to 10m", said Vermeulen, adding that storm surges were also a concern.

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"Cyclone Idai made landfall at about midnight and is now lying north west off Beira", said Jan Vermeulen, senior forecaster at the SA Weather Service.

At least 115 people were killed in Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa after heavy rains affected 843 000 people across southeast Africa, officials and the United Nations said, prompting calls for emergency aid.

Winds of 167 km/h have accompanied the tropical storm IDAI.

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According to the Mozambican Master Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction 2017-2030, the Mozambique National Institute for Disaster Management argues that over the last 20 years, the country has experienced increasing high intensity and frequency of extreme weather events.

Rescuers from different South African agencies are preparing to leave for neighbouring Mozambique in anticipation for Rescue and Relief efforts for the category 3 hurricane Idai that is set to land on Thursday afternoon.

"Our intervention includes 70 personnel (aquatic rescue, rescue technicians, rescue divers, advance life support paramedics and doctors), 22 vehicles (4×4), 10 power boats, 4 jet skis, 14 inflatable, non-motorised two-man rescue boats, a range of rescue equipment and access to an eight-seater plane", the organisation's founder Imtiaz Sooliman said in a brief statement.

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