Cyclone Idai has triggered a “massive disaster” in southern Africa affecting hundreds of thousands if not millions of people, the UN has said.

 

The region has been hit by widespread flooding and devastation affecting Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

 

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi called it “a humanitarian disaster of great proportion”.

 

He said more than 1,000 people may have been killed after the cyclone hit the country last week.

 

Cyclone Idai made landfall near the port city of Beira in Sofala province on Thursday with winds of up to 177 km/h (106 mph).

 

“This is shaping up to be one of the worst weather-related disasters ever to hit the southern hemisphere,” Clare Nullis, from the UN’s weather agency, told newsmen.

 

Christian Lindmeier from the UN’s World Health Organization, said: “We need all the logistical support that we can get.”

 

Mozambique’s government said 84 people had died and 100,000 needed to be urgently rescued near Beira.

 

An aerial survey of the province showed that a 50km (30 mile) stretch of land was under water after the Buzi river burst its banks, charity Save The Children said.

 

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