Cyclone Idai left more than 500,000 residents in the port city of Beira isolated. This is one of the largest cities in the country and roads were flooded while the airport could not function. The tropical storm tracked over Mozambique, disrupting the power supply and communication systems in Manicaland province, Zimbabwe. Manica is located on the Western border of Mozambique. Some students from a couple of boarding schools died in their sleep when rocks rolled down a mountain and the wall gave way.

The BBC reports rains and flooding had started before Cyclone Idai struck and the initial death toll is more than 120 in Mozambique and Malawi.

This could increase once more information becomes available after the floodwaters recede. Zimbabwe declared a state of emergency in view of the loss of many homes and bridges that have washed away in the floodwaters.

The cyclone took a heavy toll

Apart from loss of more than 100 lives, there are many people missing. The devastation caused by Cyclone Idai has affected people at all levels and the full implications will be known when normalcy returns. A school in the mountainous district of Chimanimani is closed and the army will evacuate the 200 pupils trapped on the premises.

The Department of Civil Protection has revealed this. Zimbabwe's information ministry also mentioned damage to more than 100 houses in the town of Chimanimani.

The BBC says police advised drivers to avoid crossing flooded rivers in the region.

It seems some people are marooned on a nearby mountain. They were in a bus that was swept away by the strong currents. Zimbabwe's information ministry said stranded people will be airlifted and those injured will be given medical treatment.

Large-scale damage to infrastructure

According to CNN, the Ministry of Information said Cyclone Idai swept away people and have resulted in large-scale damage to infrastructure.

This happens when high-speed winds uproot trees, damage roads and bridges and bring down power lines resulting in blackout conditions. Rebuilding such infrastructure will take time and will be a cost-intensive affair.

The country’s Civil Protection Unit is handling the rescue efforts. Zimbabwe Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration are extending necessary assistance. Zimbabwe Red Cross Operations Director says the situation is "quite dire." The displaced persons need immediate shelter and these are humanitarian issues. The authorities have set up two command centers to cater to those rescued from the worst affected areas. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has cut short his state visit to the United Arab Emirates in view of the situation.