The Latest: Portugal sends rescuers to Mozambique
CHIMANIMANI, Zimbabwe (AP) — The Latest on the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in southern Africa (all times local):
Portugal is sending an intervention taskforce to help in the search and rescue of survivors in Mozambique following the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai.
Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva says two Portuguese Airforce C130 transport planes were due to depart Thursday to the region. The first one was taking 35 soldiers, medical personnel and a disaster relief team from the National Republican Guard.
At least 200 people have died in Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony in southeast Africa, and 100 more in neighboring Zimbabwe, as a result of the cyclone over the weekend and widespread flooding that ensued.
Relief efforts were initially stifled by airport closures but international aid has begun arriving in the country.
Mozambique is home to thousands of nationals from Portugal. Santos Silva said that 30 of the country's citizens had not yet been contacted.
A week after Cyclone Idai hit coastal Mozambique and swept across the country to Zimbabwe, the storm's aftermath of flooding, destruction and death continues in southern Africa, making it one of the most destructive natural disasters in the region's recent history.
Floodwaters are rushing across the plains of central Mozambique, submerging homes, villages and entire towns. The flooding has created a muddy inland ocean 50 kilometers (31 miles) wide where there used to be farms and villages, giving credence to Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi's estimate that 1,000 may have been killed.
Mozambique reports that 200 have died and Zimbabwe reports a similar number but emergency workers say the death toll will continue to rise.
Rains stopped, at least temporarily, Thursday and floodwaters have begun to recede, according to aid groups.