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At least 24 dead, dozens missing in Zimbabwe after cyclone

AFP  |  Harare 

At least 24 people have been killed and dozens are missing in parts of eastern hit by the peripheral effects of tropical cyclone Idai which lashed neighbouring Mozambique, government said Saturday.

Zimbabwe's ministry of information announced on that so far the "number of deaths is confirmed at 24 mainly from East," including two students, while at least 40 other people have been injured.

Many houses have been damaged and bridges washed away in parts of the province which borders

A group of people 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.

"The information we have so far is that over 100 people are missing and some of them" may have died, Joshua Sacco, a member of parliament in district, told AFP.

"At least 25 houses were swept away following a mudslide at Ngangu township in urban. There were people inside. They are part of the missing," he said.

Tropical cyclone Idai battered on Friday killing at least 19 people there and cutting off more than half a million in Beira, one of the country's largest cities.

Local officials in said that heavy rains earlier in the week, before the cyclone struck, had already claimed another 66 lives, injured scores and displaced 17,000 people.

Heavy downpours in neighbouring this week have affected almost a million people and claimed 56 lives there, according to the latest government toll.

Zimbabwe's opposition tweeted that a "serious humanitarian crisis (is) unfolding" in eastern districts.

"We need state intervention on a massive scale to avoid biblical disaster," he said.

The ministry of information said the was leading the rescue efforts.

One school has been shut in the area and students were waiting to be airlifted to safety.

When the cyclone hit Mozambique, authorities there were forced to close the international airport in the port city of after the air traffic control tower, the and the runways were damaged by the storm.

An at the of Disaster Management (NIDM) of Mozambique told AFP on Friday "there is extreme havoc".

"Some runway lights were damaged, the navigation system is damaged, the control tower antennas and the control tower itself are all damaged.

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

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 16 2019. 15:50 IST
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