The number of people killed in a powerful storm and preceding floods in Mozambique could exceed 1,000, the president said on Monday, putting the potential death toll greatly more than current figures.
Only 84 deaths have been confirmed so far in Mozambique as a result of Cyclone Idai, which has also left a trail of death and destruction across Zimbabwe and Malawi, with vast areas of land flooded, roads destroyed and communication wiped out.
Speaking on Radio Mocambique, President Filipe Nyusi said he had flown over the affected region, where two rivers had overflowed. Villages had disappeared, he said, and bodies were floating in the water.
The cyclone has also killed 89 people in Zimbabwe, an official said on Monday, while the death toll in Malawi from heavy rains and flooding stood at 56 as of last week. It made landfall close to the port city of Beira on Thursday with winds of up to 177 km/h (106 mph), but aid teams only reached the city on Sunday.