Animated Loading
Having trouble loading this page?
Get help troubleshooting.

Cyclone death toll above 750; fighting disease new challenge

Published
Displaced families set up their bedding on top of the roof in Buzi district, 200 kilometers (120 miles) outside Beira, Mozambique, on Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

BEIRA, Mozambique (AP) — Cyclone Idai's death toll has risen above 750 in the three southern African countries hit 10 days ago by the storm, as workers restore electricity, water and try to prevent outbreak of cholera, authorities said Sunday.

In Mozambique the number of dead has risen to 446 while there are 259 dead in Zimbabwe and at least 56 dead in Malawi for a three-nation total of 761.

All numbers for deaths are still preliminary, warned Mozambique's Environment Minister Celso Correia. As flood waters recede and more bodies are discovered, the final death toll in Mozambique alone could be above the early estimate of 1,000 made by the country's president a few days after the cyclone hit, said aid workers.

Nearly 110,000 people are now in camps more than a week after Cyclone Idai hit, said Correia, the government's emergency coordinator. As efforts to rescue people trapped by the floods wind down, aid workers across the vast region are bracing for the spread of disease.

"We'll have cholera for sure," Correia said at a press briefing, saying a center to respond to cholera has been set up in Beira though no cases have yet been confirmed.

Beira is working to return basic services, he said. Electricity has been restored to water pumping and treatment stations by the government water agency, so Beira and the nearby city of Dondo are getting clean water, he said. Electricity has been restored to part of Beira and the port and railway line have re-opened, he said.

Repairs and bypasses are being built to the main road, EN6, which links Beira to the rest of Mozambique and the road should open Monday, said Correia. The restored road connection will allow larger deliveries of food, medicines and other essential supplies to be to be brought to Beira and to flooded areas like Nhamatanda, west of the city.

"People are already going," the environment minister said of the newly accessible road.

Malaria is another looming health problem that the minister said was "unavoidable" because large expanses of standing water encourage the spread of malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Asked about his country's current corruption scandal and whether the diversion of money has hurt the rescue efforts, Correia bristled, saying the government's focus now is on saving lives.

"We are doing everything to fight corruption," he said. "It's systematic, up to the top," he said of the anti-graft drive.

Two large field hospitals and water purification systems were on the way, joining a wide-ranging effort that includes drones to scout out areas in need across the landscape of central Mozambique, said Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, deputy director of the U.N. Humanitarian operation.

The scale of the devastation is "extraordinary" not only because of the cyclone and flooding but because the land had already had been saturated by earlier rains, he said.

A huge number of aid assets are now in Mozambique, Stampa said: "No government in the world can respond alone in these circumstances."

An elderly woman is assisted disembark from a boat after being rescued from a flooded area of Buzi district, 200km outside Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
An aerial photo shows local residents walk on a damaged road following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo)
An aerial photo shows a truck as it manoeuvres on a damaged road following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo)
An aerial photo shows a damaged factory following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo)
Jessica Mhonderi stands in front of what used to be her son's home in Chimanimani. Zimbabwe, Saturday, March 23, 2019. Mhonderi lost her daughter-in-law and three grandchildren to the Cyclone Idai induced rains last week that swept through Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. (AP Photo/KB Mpofu)
Satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, photo showing aerial view of Beira city, Mozambique, on the shores of the Indian Ocean, dated March 13, 2019, before the impact of cyclone Idai on the area.  A second week has begun of efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP)
Kids scrape for remaining rice inside a pot at a displacement center 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)
A woman and her child send against the wall at a displacement centre 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)
Two man lay on a floor at a displacement centre 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)
Images provided by satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, combo photo showing aerial view of the city airport in Beira, Mozambique, showing the impact of cyclone Idai on the area, with top photo before the cyclone dated March 13, 2019, and photo below dated March 22, 2019.  A second week has begun of efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP)
In this photo dated March 23, 2019, satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, showing an aerial view of the city of Beira, on the shores of the Indian Ocean, Mozambique, after the cyclone impacted on the city.  A second week has begun of efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP)
Displaced families set up their bedding on top of the roof in Buzi district, 200 kilometers (120 miles) outside Beira, Mozambique, on Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Displaced families set up their bedding on top of the roof in Buzi district, 200 kilometers (120 miles) outside Beira, Mozambique, on Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
In this photo dated March 23, 2019, satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, showing an aerial view of the city of Beira, on the shores of the Indian Ocean, Mozambique, after the cyclone impacted on the city.  A second week has begun of efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP)
In this photo dated March 23, 2019, satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, showing an aerial view of the city of Beira, on the shores of the Indian Ocean, Mozambique, after the cyclone impacted on the city. A second week has begun of efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP)
An elderly woman is assisted disembark from a boat after being rescued from a flooded area of Buzi district, 200km outside Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
An elderly woman is assisted disembark from a boat after being rescued from a flooded area of Buzi district, 200km outside Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Jessica Mhonderi stands in front of what used to be her son's home in Chimanimani. Zimbabwe, Saturday, March 23, 2019. Mhonderi lost her daughter-in-law and three grandchildren to the Cyclone Idai induced rains last week that swept through Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. (AP Photo/KB Mpofu)
Jessica Mhonderi stands in front of what used to be her son's home in Chimanimani. Zimbabwe, Saturday, March 23, 2019. Mhonderi lost her daughter-in-law and three grandchildren to the Cyclone Idai induced rains last week that swept through Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. (AP Photo/KB Mpofu)
Two man lay on a floor at a displacement centre 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)
Two man lay on a floor at a displacement centre 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 photo shows local residents walk on a damaged road following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo)
An aerial photo shows local residents walk on a damaged road following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo)
An aerial photo shows a truck as it manoeuvres on a damaged road following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo)
An aerial photo shows a truck as it manoeuvres on a damaged road following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo)
A woman and her child send against the wall at a displacement centre 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)
A woman and her child send against the wall at a displacement centre 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)
Images provided by satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, combo photo showing aerial view of the city airport in Beira, Mozambique, showing the impact of cyclone Idai on the area, with top photo before the cyclone dated March 13, 2019, and photo below dated March 22, 2019.  A second week has begun of efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP)
Images provided by satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, combo photo showing aerial view of the city airport in Beira, Mozambique, showing the impact of cyclone Idai on the area, with top photo before the cyclone dated March 13, 2019, and photo below dated March 22, 2019. A second week has begun of efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP)
Kids scrape for remaining rice inside a pot at a displacement center 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)
Kids scrape for remaining rice inside a pot at a displacement center 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 photo shows a damaged factory following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo)
An aerial photo shows a damaged factory following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, Saturday, March 23, 2019. A second week has begun with efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people in devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (AP Photo)
Satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, photo showing aerial view of Beira city, Mozambique, on the shores of the Indian Ocean, dated March 13, 2019, before the impact of cyclone Idai on the area.  A second week has begun of efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP)
Satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, photo showing aerial view of Beira city, Mozambique, on the shores of the Indian Ocean, dated March 13, 2019, before the impact of cyclone Idai on the area. A second week has begun of efforts to find and help some tens of thousands of people after Cyclone Idai devastated parts of southern Africa, with some hundreds dead and an unknown number of people still missing. (DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP)