A man passes through a section of the road damaged by Cyclone Idai in Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

BEIRA, Mozambique (AP) — With the flooding easing in parts of cyclone-stricken Mozambique on Friday, fears are rising that the waters could yield up many more bodies. The confirmed number of people killed in Mozambique and neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi climbed past 600.

Eight days after Cyclone Idai struck southeast Africa's Indian Ocean coast, touching off some of the worst flooding in decades, the homeless, hungry and injured slowly made their way from devastated inland areas to the port city of Beira, which was heavily damaged itself but has emerged as the nerve center for rescue efforts.

"Some were wounded. Some were bleeding," said Julia Castigo, a Beira resident who watched them arrive. "Some had feet white like flour for being in the water for so long."

Aid workers are seeing many children who have been separated from their parents in the chaos or orphaned.

Elhadj As Sy, secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the relief efforts so far "are nowhere near the scale and magnitude of the problem," and the humanitarian needs are likely to grow in the coming weeks and months.

"We should brace ourselves," he said.

Helicopters set off into the rain for another day of efforts to find people clinging to rooftops and trees.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for stepped up support for victims of Idai saying the U.N. and its humanitarian partners are scaling up the response but "far greater international support is needed."

The U.N. chief said in a statement that "with crops destroyed in the breadbasket of Mozambique more people are at risk of food insecurity in all three countries."

With water and sanitation systems largely destroyed, waterborne diseases are also a growing concern.

"The situation is simply horrendous. There is no other way to describe it," As Sy said after touring camps for the growing number of displaced. "Three thousand people who are living in a school that has 15 classrooms and six, only six, toilets. You can imagine how much we are sitting on a water and sanitation ticking bomb."

The death toll in Mozambique rose to 293, with an untold number of people missing and the mortuary at Beira's central hospital already reported full. Deaths could soar beyond the 1,000 predicted by the country's president earlier this week, As Sy said.

The number of dead was put at 259 in Zimbabwe and 56 in Malawi.

Thousands made the trek from inland Mozambique toward Beira, some walking along roads carved away by the raging waters. Hundreds of others arrived by boat, ferried by fishermen who plucked stranded people from patches of land that had been turned into islands. Many of the arrivals were children.

In Beira, people salvaged the metal strips of roofs that had been peeled away like the skin of a fruit. Downed trees littered the streets.

And yet there were flashes of life as it used to be. White wedding dresses stood pristine behind a shop window that hadn't shattered.

A downtown sidewalk was Marta Ben's new home. The 30-year-old mother of five clutched a teary child to her hip as she described the sudden horror of the storm that destroyed their home in Beira.

"I've never seen anything like this," she said, barefoot, a cooking pot bubbling nearby. "We were not warned. Suddenly the roof flew away."

She and others now homeless begged passers-by for help, saying they had received nothing from the government or aid groups, not even bread.

In Zimbabwe, where roads began to open and some basic communications were set up, a fuller picture of the extent of the damage began to emerge.

The victims included a mother buried in the same grave with her child; headmasters missing together with dozens of students; illegal gold and diamond miners swept away by raging rivers; and police officers washed away with their prisoners.

In the city of Mutare, Maina Chisiriirwa said she buried her son-in-law, who had gone to the diamond fields to mine illegally.

"There are no jobs and all he wanted was to feed his family. He was with his colleagues. They thought it would be easier to mine since the rains would keep the guards and the police away from patrolling," Chisiriirwa said.

His colleagues survived, but her son-in-law was swept away, she said.

___

Farai Mutsaka reported from Mutare, Zimbabwe.

People go on their morning errands amid the shattered city of Beira, Friday, March 22 2019.  Some hundreds of people are dead, many more still missing and with many thousands at risk from massive flooding in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe caused by Cyclone Idai. (AP Photo/Cara Anna)
Survivors of Cyclone Idai in a makeshift shelter by the roadside near Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Survivors of Cyclone Idai in an abandoned and derelict building near Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Survivors of Cyclone Idai in a makeshift shelter by the roadside near Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday, March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Survivors of Cyclone Idai in a makeshift shelter by the roadside near Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Flooding in Sofala Province in Mozambique.;
Survivors of Cyclone Idai in a makeshift shelter by the roadside near Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A World Food Programme (WFP) helicopter takes off, in Beira, Mozambique, Friday, March 22, 2019. A week after Cyclone Idai hit coastal Mozambique and swept across the country to Zimbabwe, its death, destruction and flooding continues to grow in southern Africa, making it one of the most destructive natural disasters in the region's recent history. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
An aerial view part of damaged city in Beira, Thursday, March 21, 2019. Hundreds are dead, many more missing and thousands at risk from massive flooding in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe caused by Cyclone Idai. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
A UN humanitarian helicopter prepares for a day of work, at the airport in the Mozambique city of Beira, Friday March 22 2019.  Some hundreds of people are dead, many more still missing and with many thousands at risk from massive flooding in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe caused by Cyclone Idai. (AP Photo/Cara Anna)
In this photo supplied by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre survivors of Cyclone Idai arrive by rescue boat in Beira, Mozambique, Thursday, March 21, 2019. The confirmed death toll in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi surpassed 500, with hundreds more feared dead in towns and villages that were completely submerged. (Photo -Denis Onyodi - Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre via AP)
Survivors of Cyclone Idai in an abandoned and derelict building near Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A woman carries salvaged metal sheeting amid the shattered city of Beira, Mozambique, Friday March 22 2019.  Some hundreds of people are dead, many more still missing and with many thousands at risk from massive flooding in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe caused by Cyclone Idai.(AP Photo/Cara Anna)
This Tuesday, March 19, 2019 photo taken from Copernicus Sentinel-1 and provided by the European Space Agency, ESA, shows the extent of flooding, depicted in red, around the port town of Beira in Mozambique. following cyclone force winds and heavy rain near the coastal city. (ESA via AP)
Pedestrians walk on the edge of a collapsed bridge in Nhamatanda, about 100km west of Beira, Thursday, March 21, 2019. Some hundreds are dead, many more still missing and thousands at risk from massive flooding across the region including Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe caused by Cyclone Idai. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
A woman carrying her child walks alongside a collapsed bridge in Nhamatanda, about 100km west of Beira, Thursday, March 21, 2019. Hundreds are dead, many more missing and thousands at risk from massive flooding in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe caused by Cyclone Idai. A week after Cyclone Idai lashed southern Africa, flooding still raged Thursday as torrential rains caused a dam to overflow in Zimbabwe, threatening riverside populations. The confirmed death toll in Zimbabwe, neighboring Mozambique and Malawi surpassed 500, with hundreds more feared dead in towns and villages that were completely submerged. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
People pass through a section of the road damaged by Cyclone Idai in Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Construction vehicles at work near a section of the road damaged by Cyclone Idai in Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A man passes through a section of the road damaged by Cyclone Idai in Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A villager sulvages what remains of a piece of clothing near a section of the road damaged by Cyclone Idai in Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed.
(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Survivors of Cyclone Idai in an abandoned and derelict building near Nhamatanda about 50 kilometres from Beira, in Mozambique, Friday March, 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)