Devastating satellite photos show destruction of deadly cyclone

Incredible before and after satellite images show the destruction of Cyclone Idai after it tore through southern Africa and triggered devastating floods and storms, killing at least 732 people.

An image shared by the European Space Agency shows a large red mass over the Buzi River near Beria, indicating the extent of the flooding on March 19.

Other black and white pictures show the area before and after what could be the southern hemisphere’s worst storm.

A satellite image shows the extent of Cyclone Idai’s damage. Source: European Space Agency

Cyclone Idai lashed the Mozambican port city of Beira with winds of up to 170km/h last week, then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, swamping populations and devastating homes.

Mozambique’s death toll rose to 417 from 242, Land and Environment Minister Celso Correia confirmed.

“The situation is getting better, still critical, but it’s getting better,” he told reporters at the airport in Beira that has become a centre for aid operations.

Before and after images of the floods caused by Cyclone Idai. Source: European Space Agency

The storm has also killed 259 in Zimbabwe, while in Malawi 56 people died in heavy rains ahead of the cyclone.

The devastating weather events takes the death toll to a combined total of 732 so far.

In all three countries, survivors have been digging through rubble to search for victims, and scrambling for shelter, food and water while governments and aid agencies rush in help.

Flooded buildings are seen in Beira, Mozambique, in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. Source: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

“All our food got wet, we didn’t know where to go with the children. We don’t have anything,” said Mimi Manuel, a 26-year-old mother of four who lost her home and was sitting on the floor of a makeshift shelter in a primary school in Beira.

A satellite image shows an aerial view of Beira city, Mozambique, before the cyclone. Source: DigitalGlobe via AP

Cyclone Idai storm destroys houses

“When it all started, people started screaming,” survivor Dina Fiegado said, describing how sheet roofs blew off and rough walls collapsed in the sea-edge community of Praia Nova, where residents said about 50 people died.

“Some people tried to escape, some people tried to stay at home.”

The death toll in Mozambique has climbed to 417 after Cyclone Idai. Source: Reuters

The Mozambican minister said some 1500 people were in need of immediate rescue from rooftops and trees. Helicopters and boats have been carrying people to safety.

The United Nations’ humanitarian office warned that more flooding may come as heavy rains inland poured into the low-lying Beira area and nearby dams filled up threatening to burst the Buzi and Pungwe rivers again.

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