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Cyclone Idai causes catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi

Cyclone Idai nears Mozambique, 14th March (NASA) Cyclone Idai nears Mozambique, 14th March (NASA) Tens of thousands of people are still trapped by floodwaters as rescuers in Mozambique race against the clock to bring essential supplies and help them to safety. Cyclone Idai made landfall near the Mozambican port city of Beira on 15th March. It brought winds of 170 km/h (105 mph) and torrential rains, resulting in catastrophic floods that devastated parts of Mozambique. In Beira, airborne debris, including sheet metal from roofs, caused numerous injuries. The cyclone then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, flattening buildings and threatening millions of lives. Cyclone Idai is already considered one of the destructive cyclones (the name for hurricanes in the Indian Ocean) ever to strike the Southern Hemisphere.

Floodwaters, shown in red, around Beira (ESA)Floodwaters, shown in red, around Beira (ESA)The Buzi and Pungwe rivers in central Mozambique overtopped their banks, causing whole villages to disappear beneath their surging waters. Satellite images (such as this one, left) reveal the vast scale of flooding in Mozambique, including the appearance of a new inland lake measuring about 125 by 25 kilometres (80 by 15 miles). An area of about 3000 sq km (1864 sq miles) is now under water. In some places the water is six metres (19 feet) deep.

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