SUNDAY TIMES WEB DESK:Cyclone Idai smashed into Mozambique on March 15, unleashing hurricane-force winds and rain that flooded much of the centre of the country and then battered eastern Zimbabwe and Malawi.

More than 700 people have been killed in Mozambique and Zimbabwe alone and hundreds are missing, according to  reports toll compiled from figures provided by governments and some UN agencies.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said roughly 3,125 square kilometres (1,200 square miles) of land had been swamped, and nearly three million people across the three countries had been affected.

“Close to 500,000 have been displaced,” the agency said in a briefing note.
In New York, UN humanitarian aid chief Mark Lowcock launched an appeal to provide Mozambique with $282 million (250 million euros) of relief aid over the next three months.

Similar campaigns will shortly be launched for Zimbabwe and Malawi, he said.