Zimbabwe: 'Hundreds Missing' As Cyclone Idai Batters Zimbabwe

'Dozens of casualties' as Cyclone Idai hits Mozambique

'Dozens of casualties' as Cyclone Idai hits Mozambique

Tropical cyclone Idai battered central Mozambique on Friday killing at least 21 people and cutting off more than half a million people in the port city of Beira.

A cyclone equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane left dozens dead and more than 500,000 without power in Mozambique after it arrived late Thursday.

The cyclone that has been tearing across Mozambique this past week, Cyclone Idai, has now hit parts of Zimbabwe and is causing further destruction.

Power has been cut off and key bridges flooded on the Manicaland province which borders Mozambique.

The storm, the worst to hit Mozambique in at least a decade, had windspeeds of more than 200 kilometers per hour before it made landfall early Friday.

Luis Fonseca, a journalist at Lusa News Agency told Al Jazeera that the cyclone is expected to dissipate on Saturday in Mozambique, but it will continue to create trouble.

"Now they risk losing their harvest and food insecurity is the next big risk in all over this area", Fonseca explains.

Mozambique has been struck by severe cyclones in the past, including Eline in 2000, when 350 people died and 650,000 were displaced across the wider region.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change called for immediate help for the storm-hit east, warning that a "serious humanitarian crisis" was unfolding there.

Heavy rains in neighbouring Malawi have affected nearly a million people and claimed 56 lives, according to the latest government toll.

Zimbabwe's military is trying to rescue the 197 students at the school although unsafe conditions are forcing the soldiers to use ground efforts rather than attempt an air rescue, the government's ministry of information said later.

"The information we have so far is that over 100 people are missing", said Joshua Sacco, an MP in Chimanimani district. Around 100 houses had been swept away in Ngangu township in Chimanimani town, he said.

When the cyclone hit Mozambique, authorities there were forced to close the global airport in the port city of Beira after the air traffic control tower, the navigation systems and the runways were damaged by the storm.

Power utility Eskom on Saturday bumped up rotational load shedding from Stage 2 to Stage 4 due to a shortage of capacity exacerbated by the loss of 900 MW from Mozambique Fin24 reported.

"Some runway lights were damaged, the navigation system is damaged, the control tower antennas and the control tower itself are all damaged".

Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi said the damage is "very worrisome" and said the flooding made it hard for aircraft to land and carry out rescue operations, according to Mozambique's state radio. "The number of missing people is now 40 (and) the fatalities include 2 students", the Ministry said on Twitter.