Aerial footage shows Cyclone Idai devastation in Mozambique

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Cyclone Idai has caused "massive and horrifying" damage in the Central Mozambican city of Beira - which has now been cut off from the rest of the country - the IFRC said in a statement.

More than 1,500 people have been injured by falling trees and debris from buildings including zinc roofing, the BBC's Jose Tembe in the capital, Maputo, quotes officials as saying.

Homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and police stations have been destroyed by the cyclone. [Courtesy] "The scale of damage".

It said 90 per cent of Beira and its surrounds are "damaged or destroyed". Jamie LeSueur, who is leading the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cresent Societies (IFRC) assement team in Beira, said, "The situation is bad. The scale of devastation is enormous", the IFRC's Jamie LeSueur was quoted as saying in the statement.

"Almost everything is destroyed".

In addition, tens of thousands of people have been displaced and homes, roads, bridges and crops have been washed away, World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson, Hervé Verhoosel, told journalists in Geneva.

"It's bad and there's potential for it to get even worse", he said as rain continued in Zimbabwe, "which could potentially lead to another flood", said in Beira.

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"We have never had something of this magnitude before in Mozambique", said Emma Beaty, coordinator of a grouping of NGOs known as Cosaco. Factories were not spared either.

Some dams have yielded while others have reached full capacity.

It is prone to cyclones and tropical storms this time of year.

"The United Nations expresses its solidarity with the Mozambique authorities and stands ready to work with them as they respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from this natural disaster", he added.

"Flying roofing sheets beheaded people", Rajino Paulino recounting the moment the cyclone smashed into Beira. "We are sleeping rough, we are eating poorly and we don't have houses anymore".

"While we hope that some people who have been trapped are alive it is also likely that some might have unfortunately lost their lives", said Moyo.

A powerful tropical storm has ripped through the coast of southeast Africa, leaving an estimated 140 people dead and hundreds more missing.

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Stressing that death toll could rise in the coming days, Sacco said: "We are anxious about an area called Copper where Rusitu and Nyahode Rivers meet and that's where the whole police camp and several government houses were swept away".

"We urge patience as rescue is on its way".

Most parts of Zimbabwe's eastern border with Mozambique have been hit by the peripheral effects of cyclone Idai but statistics suggest the country could have the highest toll in the region.

The ministry of information said the Zimbabwean national army was leading the rescue efforts. The majority of them are thought to be government workers, whose housing complex was completely engulfed by raging waters. Their fate was unknown because the area was still unreachable.

Zimbabwe's president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, declared a state of disaster in affected areas and shortened a visit to the United Arab Emirates, according to Zimbabwe's Ministry of Information. But the government has come under fire for failing to move timesously to evacuate people.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo told state media Herald newspaper that the 65 deaths in Manicaland were caused by drowning and injuries sustained during mudslides.

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