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Mozambique president: Death toll from cyclone may exceed 1,000

Mozambique president: Death toll from cyclone may exceed 1,000

Mozambique's president on Monday said more than 1,000 people may have died in a cyclone that recently battered the African country, The Associated Press reported.

The death toll from Cyclone Idai, which made landfall on March 14, stands at 84 in Mozambique, but President Filipe Nyusi said he expects that number to rise substantially.

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“It appears that we can register more than 1,000 deaths,” he said on Radio Mozambique, adding that more than 100,000 people are at risk.

“The waters of the Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, making whole villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating,” Nyusi said, according to the AP. “It is a real disaster of great proportions.”

The Red Cross on Monday said the cyclone caused "massive and horrifying" damage in the central city of Beira.

“The situation is terrible. The scale of devastation is enormous. It seems that 90 percent of the area is completely destroyed,” Jamie LeSueur said in a statement.

The cyclone has also affected Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The Red Cross estimates 150 people have died in the three countries, but expects that number to rise.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared a state of disaster in affected areas, the country's Information Ministry said.