Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Mozambique Braces for 'Worst Case Scenario' as Cyclone Idai Makes Landfall

Mozambique Braces for 'Worst Case Scenario' as Cyclone Idai Makes Landfall

The news agency says domestic flights to several destinations have been cancelled as a safety precaution.

In Beira, a city of around 500,000 people and a gateway for imports to landlocked countries in southeast Africa, Twitter images and television footage showed billboards and rooftops blown off, trees snapped and electricity cables strewn across the streets.

With Tropical Cyclone Idai expected to make landfall in central Mozambique in about 12 hours, aid workers are warning that it could cause extensive damage and displace tens of thousands of people.

The storm surge could approach six meters - 20 feet - at the mouth of the Pungwe River, where Beira is located.

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If a cyclone hits further north, it usually draws moisture toward it, leaving much dryer air over South Africa's northern parts.

Government authorities in Mozambique have ordered a coastal evacuation and raised the national alert level to "institutional code red", its highest state of emergency.

The South African weather service has forecasted more strong winds in Mozambique area Beira, as Cyclone Idia makes landfall at midnight, 14 March. Although many have been moved from villages and other settlements to safer shelters, we are aware that there are still a lot of communities needing urgent support.

Mozambique has seen deadly floods worsened by devastating hurricanes in the past, including in 2000 and 2007.

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An update from the National Institute of Meteorology in the morning indicate the cyclone is weakening, as it is now a Category 3 tropical cyclone with winds of 140 kilometres per hour, gusting up to 160 kilometres per hour.

"We also note that the coping capacity of the affected population is limited, due to the impact of previous week's heavy rains and floods".

Mozambique has significant offshore liquefied natural gas projects underway in the north, but these are now out of harm's way.

"At this time, given its projected path, Cyclone Idai is not anticipated to impact activity at the site", a spokesman for USA energy company Anadarko, which has a project in the region after a huge gas discovery, said.

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