Mozambique’s Minister of Land and Environment has given updated figures arising from the deadly cyclone Idai that ravaged the southern African country late last week.
According to the minister Celso Correia, the official death toll stood at 217, a figure significantly lower than a projection by president Filipe Nyusi who told state media earlier this week, that it could rise to 1,000.
Three thousand people have so far been variously rescued most of them from atop building and trees where they were seeking refuge following the heavy winds and floods that came with the cyclone.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that 15,000 people are currently stranded as varied efforts are continuing to rescue them especially in the battered city of Beira – the hardest hit.
New satellite images also reveal that the extent of the affected area was much bigger than expected. The current flood zone covers an estimated 3,000 square kilometers (1,200 sq miles).
“The situation is still critical… we will not sleep until everyone is safe,” the Minister said at a response center located in Beira airport. Water levels continue to recede according to reports.
Rescue efforts are likely to start deploying boats especially because most of the initial rescues have been with helicopters. People in dire medical need are being airlifted to nearby hospitals.