Cyclone Idai caused $2bn of damage and affected millions, says World Bank

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A strong cyclone that cut a deadly swath through Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe last month is expected to cost the three countries more than $2bn, the World Bank has said.

Early estimates pointed to Cyclone Idai costing $2bn “for the infrastructure and livelihood impacts,” the World Bank said in a statement after a meeting in Washington on Thursday.

“To date, about 3 million people have been affected, with near total damage in the worst affected areas,” it said.

Idai slammed into the Mozambican port city of Beira on 14 March, then continued on a path westward towards Zimbabwe.

In Mozambique alone, more than 600 people died among the 1.5 million affected. About 344 have been killed in Zimbabwe. Southern Malawi was also drowned in heavy rainfall in an earlier phase of the storm, killing 59 people.

The global lender said the cyclone had damaged the infrastructure corridor connecting the Mozambican port of Beira with Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, “disrupting regional trade and supplies of fuel, wheat and other goods”.

The UN has appealed for donations of $282m to fund emergency assistance for the next three months.

The World Bank called for “global collaboration” as recovery and reconstruction gets underway for poor and vulnerable populations “in the face of climate and disaster risk”.