Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been hit by a vicious cyclone that has killed nearly 160 people, left hundreds more missing and stranded tens of thousands who are cut off from roads and telephones in mainly poor, rural areas.
Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in the three southern African countries, according to the U.N. and government officials.
Hardest hit is Mozambique’s central port city of Beira where the airport is closed, electricity is out and many homes have been destroyed.
The storm hit Beira late Thursday and moved westward into Zimbabwe and Malawi, affecting thousands more, particularly in eastern areas bordering Mozambique.
U.N. agencies and the Red Cross are helping with rescue efforts that include delivering food supplies and medicines by helicopter in the impoverished southern African countries.
South Africa’s military has sent in aircraft and 10 medical personnel to help in Mozambique and Malawi, it said in a statement Saturday.