March 20, 2019 1:18 pm
Updated: March 20, 2019 2:00 pm

‘I have lost everything’: Mozambique residents plead for help after Cyclone Idai kills hundreds

WATCH: Mozambique begins recovery operations after deadly Cyclone Idai


Frantic search and rescue efforts are underway in Mozambique, where hundreds have been confirmed dead after Cyclone Idai.

READ MORE: Mozambique mourns victims of Cyclone Ida as death toll continues to rise

Reports indicate several hundred bodies are lying beneath rubble. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has said the eventual death toll from the cyclone and ensuing floods could rise to more than 1,000.

A general view shows destruction after Cyclone Idai in Beira.

Care International/Josh Estey via Reuters

A general view of the damage after a cyclone swept through Beira.

Red Cross Climate Centre via Reuters

Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique’s port city of Beira with winds of up to 170 kilometres per hour Thursday, then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, flattening buildings and putting the lives of millions at risk.

Mozambique has declared a state of emergency and began three days of mourning Wednesday.

WATCH: Red Cross says cyclone death toll to ‘rise significantly’

Difficult recovery efforts

Recovery efforts following the powerful cyclone have been difficult amid more active weather and flooding.

Torrential rains were expected to continue into the week and cause more flooding. Aid groups said they were also battling rising floodwaters in their mission to get food, shelter and medical supplies to survivors.

Rescue workers help affected people disembark from a helicopter after cyclone damage in Beira, Mozambique, March 19, 2019.

Reuters handout

People have been reported clinging to rooftops and trees since the cyclone roared in over the weekend. The United Nations humanitarian office said the town of Buzi, with about 200,000 people, was at risk of becoming at least partially submerged.

“Floodwaters are predicted to rise significantly in the coming days and 350,000 people are at risk,” the UN office said.

People walk down a flooded road next to buildings damaged by Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 17, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video on March 18, 2019.

Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies via Reuters

Aid groups also said they were struggling to reach many survivors trapped in remote areas of Mozambique, where villages were submerged.

UNICEF estimated that 260,000 children were at risk from the devastation.

Inhabitants of Chiluvi, a village in central Mozambique, walk along a flooded and muddy street after Cyclone Idai.

Andre Catueira/EPA

It will be days before Mozambique’s inundated plains drain toward the Indian Ocean.

The floods have also brought the threat of waterborne diseases.

Survivors desperate for help

Those within the country have been pleading for international support. Many have lost their loved ones, homes and other belongings.

“I have nothing. I have lost everything. We don’t have food. I don’t even have blankets. We need help,” one woman from the village Manhava told BBC News.

Those affected by the storm are beginning to panic, the BBC report said, as several days have gone by without aid groups being sighted.

The aftermath of the Cyclone Idai is pictured in Beira, Mozambique, March 16, 2019. Picture taken March 16, 2019.

Josh Estey/Care International via Reuters

Many of those who lost their homes are living in makeshift shelters, while others are housed in churches and other public buildings that remain standing.

“Please help us. Tell the world we are suffering. We don’t know where we are going to sleep,” another Mozambique resident named Pedro told BBC News.

WATCH: Death toll rises after Zimbabwe hit by cyclone

Destruction beyond Mozambique

Beyond Mozambique, the cyclone also killed more than 100 people in the neighbouring country of Zimbabwe.

A family dig for their son who got buried in the mud when Cyclone Idai struck in Chimanimani about 600 kilometres south east of Harare, Zimbabwe, Tuesday, March, 19, 2019.

Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

This is one of the most destructive storms to strike southern Africa in decades.

Malawi has not released details of casualties from the storm, which weakened as it moved further inland. More than 50 people had already died in floods the week before the cyclone hit.

— With files from The Associated Press, Reuters

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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