The Mozambique Red Cross is deploying assessment teams to cyclone-hit districts of southern Mozambique and has mobilized more than 1,000 volunteers to help affected communities, as the region braces for extensive flooding after torrential rains.

Cyclone Denio, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, made landfall in Mozambique’s Inhambane Province Wednesday evening (15 Feb), battering coastal towns and villages before moving westward.

The extent of injuries, loss of life and destruction has yet to be determined as many of the worst affected areas remain inaccessible.  But Red Cross volunteers describe considerable damage to homes and buildings, flooded roads, downed trees and loss of electricity in the towns and villages they have been able to reach.

Disaster response authorities indicate as many as 750,000 people may be affected, many of whom live near rivers that threaten to overflow as heavy rains continue.

The Mozambique Red Cross is coordinating with national, provincial and aid partners in assessment and response planning, with support from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and partner National Societies. Meanwhile, Red Cross volunteers are assisting local authorities in disseminating safety and evacuation information, and are prepared to provide first aid.