Flooding in region affected by the storm had already killed more than 60 people. "It seems that 90 percent of the area is completely destroyed".
In Zimbabwe, early estimates from government sources in Chimanimani District in Manicaland, put the numbers affected by the cyclone as approximately 1,600 households (8,000 people), with 23 deaths and 71 people reported missing.
Filipe Nyusi said Cyclone Idai had caused mass devastation and predicted the current death toll of 84 would rise enormously.
"This is a real humanitarian disaster", he said.
"We wish the South African National Defence Force and other organisations all the best in their efforts to render assistance to our neighbours".
Nearly 850,000 people - around half of whom are estimated to be children - have been affected by severe flooding in Malawi and Mozambique, with the numbers set to rise as Cyclone Idai moves west and the impact of the cyclone becomes clearer, UNICEF warned today.
The destruction in Beira is "massive and horrifying", said Jamie LeSueur, who led a Red Cross team that had to assess the damage by helicopter because of the flooded-out roads.
The NGO told Euronews that first aid workers left the capital Maputo by vehicle due to airport closure in Beira, however, the team could not access the city because of road closures from a dam break, which caused waters of the Pungue and Buzi rivers to overflow.
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who cut short a visit to Abu Dhabi over the cyclone, has declared a state of disaster in the affected areas.
Another official, Pedro Armando Alberto Virgula, in Chinde north of Beira, said a hospital, police station and seven schools there lost their roofs and several houses were destroyed.
- Martin Strand (@maartinstrand) March 18, 2019 Insane Cyclone Idai hits Zimbabwe, Mozambique, all of Southern Africa.
A deserted shop in the devastated Mozambican city of Beira has become a place of refuge for dozens of families displaced by a deadly cyclone, which has caused flooding and rendered many areas inaccessible. "Yesterday, a large dam burst and cut off the last road to the city." .
Farmers check their crop after the area was hit by cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe.
Some citizens started crowdfunding on Twitter to help those affected while the government sought assistance from individuals, private companies and global aid agencies.
Authorities were forced to close Beira global airport after the air traffic control tower, the navigation systems and the runways were damaged by the storm.
More than 80 people have died in eastern and southern Zimbabwe, information ministry head Nick Mangwana told Reuters news agency.
In neighbouringZimbabwe, Idai left 89 dead and at least 150 more missing, according to a toll compiled by AFP.
Earlier this month, the United Nations launched an appeal for $234m to assist 2.2 million people out of 5.3 million that are in need of food assistance until June this year.
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