News Factbox: Cyclone Idai’s death toll rises to 847, hundreds of thousands displaced
BEIRA, Mozambique (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of people are in need of food, water and shelter after Cyclone Idai battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
As of Sunday, at least 847 people had been reported killed by the storm, the flooding it caused and heavy rains before it hit. Following is an outline of the disaster, according to government and United Nations officials.
Cyclone Idai landed on the night of March 14 near the port city of Beira, bringing heavy winds and rains. Two major rivers, the Buzi and the Pungue, burst their banks, submerging entire villages and leaving bodies floating in the water.
People killed: 602
People injured: 1,641
Houses damaged or destroyed: 239,682
Crops damaged: 715,378 hectares
People affected: 1.85 million
Confirmed cholera cases: 2,424
Confirmed cholera deaths: 5
On March 16 the storm hit eastern Zimbabwe, where it flattened homes and flooded communities in the Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.
People killed: 185, according to government. The U.N. migration agency puts the death toll at 259.
People injured: 200
People displaced: 16,000 households
People affected: 250,000
Before it arrived, the storm brought heavy rains and flooding to the lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje in Malawi’s south. The rains continued after the storm hit, compounding the misery of tens of thousands of people.
People killed: 60
People injured: 672
People displaced: 19,328 households
People affected: 868,895
(Reporting by Emma Rumney and Stephen Eisenhammer in Beira, Tom Miles in Geneva, MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare and Frank Phiri in Blantyre; Writing by Alexandra Zavis, Alexander Winning and Joe Bavier; Editing by Angus MacSwan and David Goodman)
American tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott and her tour guide, who were ambushed and kidnapped Tuesday in Uganda, have been rescued and are in good health, Ugandan authorities said Sunday.
The country’s government and police announced their rescue by security forces on Twitter without addressing whether a ransom was paid.
„The duo are in good health & in the safe hands of the joint security team,” the Ugandan police tweeted.
The kidnappers fled the scene when security forces moved in, according to media reports.
Endicott, from Southern California, was visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park alongside Congolese guide Jean Paul Mirenge when they were abducted at gunpoint by four men who used her cellphone to contact authorities and demand a $500,000 ransom, Ugandan police said.
Endicott and Mirenge were on an evening safari with a Canadian couple when the gunmen accosted their vehicle, taking the first two and robbing the 78-year-old Canadians but leaving them behind. They notified the camp manager, who rescued them.
An massive search-and-rescue effort was launched after the ambush and kidnapping.
President Donald Trump was among those hailing the safe release of Endicott and Mirenge, tweeting, „God bless them and their families!”
It was not known whether a ransom was paid or by whom, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said the American government does not pay ransom for its citizens.
At a Tuesday event for families of U.S. citizens held captive overseas, before news of Endicott’s abduction was out, Pompeo said he understands relatives’ anguish but that paying ransom would just lead to more kidnappings.
The State Department released a statement Friday saying, “Whenever a U.S. citizen is taken captive abroad, we work tirelessly – in partnership with local authorities – to secure their release and get them home safely.”
Police said Endicott, who owns a small skin-care shop in Orange County, arrived in Uganda on March 29 and on the next day flew to the park, a sprawling wildlife refuge more than 200 miles west of the capital city of Kampala.
Police & its sister security agencies have today rescued Ms.Kimberley Sue, an American tourist together with her guide who were kidnapped while on an evening game drive at Queen Elizabeth National park.The duo are in good health & in the safe hands of the joint security team.
Queen Elizabeth Park is known as Uganda’s most popular tourist destination and is generally regarded as safe, but the western edge borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to several rebel groups.
Last year two British tourists and their driver were kidnapped in the Virunga National Park across the border in Congo. They were released two days later.
Contributing: John Bacon and Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kidnapped American tourist, guide rescued by security forces in Uganda
GENEVA (Reuters) – U.S. sanctions have prevented the Iranian Red Crescent from obtaining any foreign financial aid to assist victims of flooding that has killed at least 70 people and inundated some 1,900 communities, the group said on Sunday.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that Washington was ready to help via the Red Cross and Red Crescent, but accused Iran’s clerical establishment of “mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness”.
“No foreign cash help has been given to the Iranian Red Crescent society. With attention to the inhuman American sanctions, there is no way to send this cash assistance,” the Red Crescent said in a statement.
It said the group had received some non-financial help from abroad which had been distributed to flood victims.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that U.S. sanctions – reimposed after Washington quit a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers – were impeding aid efforts to flood-stricken towns and villages.
“Blocked equipment includes relief choppers: This isn’t just economic warfare; it’s economic TERRORISM,” he said on Twitter.
The flood disaster, arising from exceptionally heavy rainfall since March 19, has left aid agencies struggling to cope and seen 86,000 people moved to emergency shelters.
The government has told citizens, and especially flood-affected farmers, that all losses will be compensated.
Iran’s state budget is already stretched under U.S. sanctions on energy and banking sectors that have halved its oil exports and restricted access to some revenues abroad.
Iran acted on Saturday to evacuate more towns and villages threatened by floods after continued rain in the southwest.
(Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Mark Heinrich)