MAPUTO, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The Mozambican government has declared three days of national mourning starting Wednesday for the victims of Cyclone Idai, which hit the country's central coastal region with devastating storms and floods since Thursday last week.
President Filipe Nyusi made the announcement after a meeting with the Council of Ministers held on Tuesday night in the disaster-stricken city of Beira, in the central province of Sofala.
"For more than 200 deaths and more than 350,000 citizens who are at risk, as well as the severe destruction caused by the tragedy, the Council of Ministers decides to decree national mourning in the Republic of Mozambique for a period of three days, starting on Wednesday," said Nyusi.
The president added that during the three days, the national flag would be flying at half-mast across the country and in diplomatic missions.
"There is a need to ensure the provision of food and water in the temporary resettlement centers for the people who have lost everything as a result of the calamities," said the president describing the situation as "extremely difficult".
According to Filipe Nyusi, an extraordinary cleaning program covering schools and universities as well as medical assistance to prevent epidemic disease should be carried out.
Out of the 202 deaths recorded so far, 141 were from Sofala, with 1,385 injured. The rest of the deaths were recorded in the province of Manica adjacent to Sofala.
At least 23,000 houses, 30 health units and 507 classrooms were destroyed due to the tropical cyclone Idai, according to authorities' assessment.
During the session of the Council of Ministers, authorities warned of the occurrence of more rains in the coming days, advising people in vulnerable zones to take serious precautions.