As of Thursday, Madagascar has reported 41 dead, with 18 others killed in Mozambique and 11 in Malawi. Rescue workers and authorities are still assessing the full extent of the losses.

Tens of thousands of homes have been  damaged in Mozambique, Madagascar and Malawi.
Tens of thousands of homes have been damaged in Mozambique, Madagascar and Malawi. (Reuters)

The death toll from a storm that struck three southern African countries has risen to 70 as emergency teams battle to repair damaged infrastructure and help tens of thousands of victims.

As of Thursday, Madagascar has reported 41 dead, with 18 others killed in Mozambique and 11 in Malawi. Remnants of the storm have passed over Zimbabwe, but no deaths have been reported there.

Packing torrential rains, tropical storm Ana made landfall on Monday in Madagascar before ploughing into Mozambique and Malawi. 

Rescue workers and authorities across the three countries were still assessing the full extent of the damage.

In the three hardest-hit countries, tens of thousands of homes were damaged. Some collapsed under the heavy rain, trapping victims in the rubble. 

Bridges were washed away by swollen rivers, while livestock drowned and submerged fields, destroying the livelihoods of rural families.

READ MORE: Deadly tropical storm Ana strikes Madagascar, Mozambique

Loss and destruction

In Madagascar, 110,000 had to flee their homes. In the capital Antananarivo, schools and gyms were turned into emergency shelters.

"We only brought our most important possessions," Berthine Razafiarisoa, who sheltered in a gym with his family of 10, told AFP.

In northern and central Mozambique, Ana destroyed 10,000 homes, dozens of schools and hospitals, and downed power lines.

Among the dead is the administrator of the northwestern city of Tete whose vehicle was swept away on Tuesday by the surging waters of the Revuboe River as he was going to inspect a bridge that had been closed by the flooding.

Mozambique's weather service expects another storm to form over the Indian Ocean in the coming days. Up to six tropical cyclones are expected before the rainy season ends in March.

In neighbouring Malawi, the government declared a state of natural disaster. Most of the country lost electricity early in the week, after flood waters hit generating stations. 

Power was restored by Thursday in parts of the country, but parts of the electric grid were destroyed.

"Our priority now is restoring power to health establishments, water treatment distribution systems, and schools," the national power utility said in a statement.

Mercy Jailosi was traveling in a van that was carried away by the Shire River's waters in Malawi's Chikwawa area. She said she managed to swim in the dark of night and then cling to a pile of washed-away garbage.

“I held on to it and slept there till early morning," a tearful Jailosi told The Associated Press. “I could feel snakes were there too."

Southern Africa, and especially Mozambique, has suffered repeated destructive storms in recent years.

READ MORE: Hundreds left homeless as floods sweep eastern South Africa

Source: TRTWorld and agencies