Durban rescuers lend a hand to Mozambique as Cyclone Idai approaches

Cyclone Idai

Cyclone Idai

The government, with support from local and worldwide partners, is providing assistance to people already displaced by floods, but access is being impeded by road damage, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Storm Report South Africa reported that an overall RED alert was issued for Mozambique and red score by GDACS.

Idai, the tropical cyclone is now positioned in central Mozambique channels and is slowly progressing towards the Mozambique coast.

Residents in central Mozambique were on Thursday bracing for a tropical cyclone described as "extremely dangerous" by weather experts, with imminent landfall expected near the port city of Beira, which has a population of about 530,000 people.

"Cyclone Idai made landfall at about midnight and is now lying north west off Beira", said Jan Vermeulen, senior forecaster at the SA Weather Service.

The Southern African country is prone to cyclones.

"We are expecting more than 100mm of rain in places; it could even reach 200mm or more in places".

Heavy rains have already killed about 100 people in Mozambique and Malawi.

In neighbouring Malawi, floods have left over 230 000 people without shelter and affected around 739 000 people, according to the UN.

Cyclones are typical for Mozambique at this time of year, but there are concerns that the weather patterns have been increasing in intensity.

The Mozambican government's emergency services have yet to give an update on the situation. It followed Tropical Storm Desmond, which hit in January.

Delaware-based energy giant Anadarko and South African petrochemical group Sasol have significant investments in major liquefied natural gas projects off northern Mozambique, but these are now out of harm's way.

Rescue Care Paramedics Media spokesperson, Garrith Jamieson said a team of 15 rescuers including rescue technicians, advanced life support paramedics and lifeguards are on their way with six 4X4 vehicles, boats and jet skis to assist the community.

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