UPDATED 7:56 AM PT — Friday, March 22, 2019
The president of Mozambique is predicting the death toll could rise to over 1,000 in the wake of a powerful cyclone.
His estimate was echoed Friday by the Red Cross as officials announced over 550 bodies have been recovered so far, with thousands more still in need of rescue.
Dozens of villages remain submerged with flood water have been made worse by torrential rain showers stretching all the way into neighboring Zimbabwe.
Damage to the country’s infrastructure has made boats and air support critical for rescuing survivors as well as for delivering humanitarian aid.
“I estimate five to 10,000 people need immediate evacuation. There isn’t much helicopters…you need those helicopters that can carry large capacity. We’ve got enough search and rescue personnel that can go out and medical doctors to provide treatment, in the interim.”
— Ahmed Bahm, head rescuer – Gift of the Givers Foundation
Shipments of humanitarian aid have begun arriving in the region from several European nations.
Zimbabwe has designated this weekend as an official mourning period for the 259 lives lost in their country alone.