The president of Mozambique warns that the death toll from last week's cyclone could climb to more than 1,000.
Last Thursday, a cyclone hit the country. Some spots there were predicted to get at least 18 inches of rain. The storm later made its way to Zimbabwe and Malawi before dissipating. Now we're learning how bad the damage really was.
I'm scared to ask...
We know at least 215 people were killed within the three countries. But yesterday, Mozambique's president said the death toll in his country alone could be more than 1,000 – more than 10 times the current death toll (which is at least 84).
Why is it taking so long to confirm this?
The Red Cross says that the storm destroyed 90% of a major port city in Mozambique called Beira. It cut off roads to the half-million people there, making it difficult for rescue workers to help and assess the damage on the ground. The cyclone knocked out power in the area, caused a dam to burst, and destroyed bridges and homes. It also could lead to food shortages in the region – since the cyclone apparently ruined the area's farms. It doesn't help that Mozambique is a poor country with a reportedly bad communication and transportation network.
Yup, and since the city is in such bad shape, we may not find out the final number or the true scale of the damage for a while. Emergency officials say that they think the death toll will drastically go up, but there's no way to know for now if it'll hit the president's estimate.
I have to ask...is this related to climate change?
Unclear. Cyclones are normal this time of year in the area. But they're becoming more frequent. Cyclones need warm air to form – and if global temperatures continue to increase, the number of cyclones may too.
The president reportedly says the country is facing a "humanitarian disaster of large proportions." If the death toll winds up reaching 1,000 or higher in Mozambique, it could be the deadliest storm in the country's history.
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