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Breaking News At least 24 dead, over 100 missing in Zimbabwe after cyclone

At least 24 people have died in south eastern Zimbabwe as homes and bridges were swept away by a tropical storm, the country’s information ministry says.

Cyclone Idai, which brought floodwater and destruction to areas of Mozambique and Malawi, hit Zimbabwe on Friday, cutting off power and communications.

“Number of deaths is confirmed at 24 mainly from Chimanimani east. The number of missing people is currently 40 and the fatalities include two students,” the ministry said on Twitter.

 

Joshua Sacco, a member of parliament in the eastern district of Chimanimani, told Reuters that the storm had left a trail of destruction reminiscent of Cyclone Eline in February 2000, which devastated southern Zimbabwe.

Sacco said the death toll was expected to rise as authorities continued to assess the situation.

Chimanimani, which borders Mozambique, has been worst affected, with the storm causing floods as well as destroying crops, Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Information said.

Air force helicopters were rescuing people, but flights were being slowed by heavy winds.

Zimbabwe has faced a severe drought this year that has damaged crops and a United Nations humanitarian agency says 5.3 million people will require food aid this year.

The country’s meteorological services expect rains to continue throughout the weekend.

In Himalaya Ward 22 Mutare District 15 houses have been destroyed and families homeless. In Dangamvura 2 houses have had roofs blown away by strong winds.

In Chipinge Ward 13, 7 houses were destroyed. In Chipinge Ward 15, 30 house were damaged.

In Chimanimani ZCDC Compound, 13 houses destroyed and the occupants were reportedly marooned on top of mountains waiting to be rescued. Strong winds have been hampering helicopter flights, the ministry said.

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