On Monday, after flying over Beira, President Filipe Nyusi told a radio station that the death toll could reach 1,000 in Mozambique alone. The official death toll in the country stands at 84, and it is 80 in Zimbabwe. Before the storm even made landfall, its outer bands caused flooding in neighboring Malawi, killing more than 120, demonstrating just how huge the storm was.
The Red Cross said in a statement Monday that 90 percent of Beira was either damaged or destroyed. Communication out of the city has been slow, with telephone lines knocked out. The city is connected to Mozambique’s road network by a single highway through a low-lying plain.
Beira is home to a major port that is essential for the supply of goods to the central part of the country, as well as Zimbabwe and Malawi, which are landlocked.