More than 100 people have died in Mozambique and Malawi after weeks of floods in the region, worsened by a deadly tropical cyclone which made landfall in central Mozambique on Thursday night.

Heavy rain and wind travelling at speeds of up to 170 km an hour injured at least five people as cyclone Idai hit Beira, a major coastal city.

Images on social media and local television showed billboards and rooftops blown off, trees snapped and electricity cables left fallen in the city’s streets. 

The United Nations’ humanitarian office said on Friday that electricity and communications in the city had been cut off by the cyclone.

The storm surge has also brought more floodwater to areas of Mozambique and Malwai which have seen scores of people killed and tens of thousands displaced in recent weeks

The United Nations said more than 100 people had already died in weeks of heavy rain and flooding in Mozambique and Malawi.

A spokesperson said villages were left underwater and that floods had washed away houses and knocked out power in some areas.

Some villages in Mozambique’s northern Zambezi province were left cut off by the storm surge and at least 500,000 people in Sofala province were left without electricity.

Almost 100,000 people have fled their homes across the two nations and humanitarian work is underway to assist them.

The South African weather service said the cyclone is now moving inland and is expected to weaken.

“Cyclone Idai made landfall at about midnight and is now lying north west off Beira,” said senior forecaster Jan Vermeulen.

“We don’t have any communications from the area. 

“This is an intense tropical cyclone, and I think there’s a lot of damage to infrastructure which is probably responsible for the loss in communications.”

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 Zimbabwe, which neighbours Mozambique, is bracing for the storm surge as it moves inland.

Additional reporting by agencies


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