Up to 500,000 displaced by southern Africa cyclone

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Survivors of a cyclone that pummelled southern Africa began receiving medicine, food and tents as floodwaters receded, while officials warned up to 500,000 people are displaced in the storm-struck region.

Cyclone Idai smashed into Mozambique´s coast, unleashing hurricane-force wind and rain that flooded swathes of the poor country before battering eastern Zimbabwe — killing more than 700 people across the two countries according to estimates

An area of roughly 3,125 square kilometres is still under water and three million people across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been affected by the cyclone and its aftermath, according to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

“Close to 500,000 have been displaced in the three countries,” the WFP said in a briefing note.

The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Elhadj As Sy warned Monday “we are sitting on a ticking bomb” as he called for renewed efforts to address the worsening health situation.

As logistical conditions improved and roads to affected communities were being reconnected, the full scale of the humanitarian crisis was revealed for the first time since disaster hit on March 15.