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I last heard from my small team in Beira at 4.30pm today.

Their homes have been damaged and they are still very anxious but they and their families are all safe.

For the past few days, staff had to travel nine miles (15km) to call us for updates as there was no phone signal.

It was raining heavily the whole time and the waters were rising.

Twelve thousand houses and schools have been destroyed. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion
Image:
Twelve thousand houses and schools have been destroyed. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion

Since this morning they have been able to call from inside the city but the quality is very bad so it is still hard to
communicate and to get all of the details we need.

The latest information is that the rain seems so be slowing down, which is good news, but we are not sure if it will last.



Cyclone Idai







Cyclone Idai is a ‘humanitarian emergency’

The water was at around eight metres (26ft) in many places but now has fallen to around five (16ft) – some internal roads can be used by many of the major routes out of Beira and connecting to rural areas are still impassable.

The airport and the port are starting to function again.

A huge number of people have lost their homes, the agency said. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion
Image:
A huge number of people have lost their homes, the agency said. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion

One priority is access to areas that still haven’t been reached. Humanity and Inclusion’s (HI) logistic expert will arrive in Beira on Saturday to assess the problems and try to co-ordinate a response – clearing roads, co-ordinating transport, organising stocks of aid etc.

A huge number of people have lost their homes, all of their belongings and their crops, so their needs are very far reaching.

Power lines are down after the cyclone. Pic: Humanty and Inclusion
Image:
Power lines are down after the cyclone. Pic: Humanty and Inclusion

In the next few days, protection against diseases will also be essential, including mass vaccination programmes.

We believe more than 600,000 people are affected by the disaster, including 141,000 displaced people. Twelve thousand houses and schools have been destroyed alongside 85,000 hectares of crops.

A satellite image shows the extent of flooding, highlighted in red, around Beira in Mozambique. Pic: European Space Agency
Image:
A satellite image shows the extent of flooding, highlighted in red, around Beira in Mozambique. Pic: European Space Agency

If heavy rains return, the situation will deteriorate.

I can confirm that there are a large number of people in need, including and perhaps especially, people with disabilities.

Agency staff have had to travel 15km to make phone calls. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion
Image:
Agency staff have had to travel 15km to make phone calls. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion

Before the cyclone, HI was working with 137 people with disabilities in Beira, including 28 children. We have not yet been able to confirm where they are, if they are safe and if they have access to humanitarian aid.



Aid workers widen search for Mozambique cyclone survivors as the death toll mounts.







Rescue workers widen search for Mozambique cyclone survivors as the number of dead mounts.

Our focus in the coming days will be the needs of the most vulnerable.

All humanitarian organisations are working in extremely complex conditions.The main challenge over the past days has been the communication network and access to the areas affected.

Pictures showing the scale of the destruction 'speak for themselves'. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion
Image:
Pictures showing the scale of the destruction ‘speak for themselves’. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion

Due to these problems, we still don’t have all of the information we need to be able to fully co-ordinate the response. But we are all working together, ensuring that everyone plays to their strengths.

HI will be focusing on providing logistics support to get the area up and running again and making sure that the most vulnerable survivors have access to appropriate support.

'Access to the areas affected is one of the main challenges'. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion
Image:
‘Access to the areas affected is one of the main challenges’. Pic: Humanity & Inclusion

In any case humanitarian response plan is in place, and the firsts activities will start in a few days.

Due to the communication problems, I haven’t been able to confirm these reports with our team, but the photos showing the scale of the destruction speak for themselves.

People have now been battling impossible conditions for almost a week. We need to reach everybody and provide some relief.

IH is raising funds to support vulnerable people impacted by the cyclone in Mozambique.

To donate to the DEC emergency appeal, visit their website, call the 24-hour hotline 0370 60 60 610, donate at any bank or Post Office or give £5 by texting SKY to 70000.

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Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukraine presidential election by landslide – exit poll | World News

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Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy has won Ukraine’s presidential election with 73% of the vote, according to an exit poll.

The exit poll showed Mr Zelenskiy had beaten Petro Poroshenko by a landslide with the incumbent winning just 25% of the vote.

The poll conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology and the Razumkov Centre public opinion organisation was based on more than 13,000 responses to face-to-face questions at 300 polling stations two hours before the polls closed.

The poll claims a margin of error of three percentage points.

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Gorillas appear to pose for selfie with park ranger in the Democratic Republic of Congo | World News

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A photo has emerged of what a park ranger claims to be a selfie with two gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ranger Mathieu Shamavu says the picture was taken at Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A spokesperson for the park told Sky News the pair both lived in a specially designed unit which cares for gorilla orphans who have been victimised by poachers or animal traffickers.

Mr Shamavu described his captivating composition as just “another day in the office”.

He is part of the park’s Elite Anti-Poaching Units And Combat Trackers group, which is tasked with protecting the animals.

A team of more than 600 rangers undergoes “intensive training, risking their lives on a daily basis to safeguard the park’s exceptional wildlife”, according to the Virunga National Park website.

Around one third of the world’s population of critically endangered mountain gorillas live in the park’s lush volcanic forests.

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The rangers have previously posted several photos of them exceptionally close to gorillas.

A Virunga National Park spokesperson said the pair were “friendly” because they were used to human contact in the Senkwekwe Centre for Gorilla Orphans.

Yvonne Ndege, a spokesperson for UNHCR Kenya, re-posted the image on Twitter, writing: “Selfie of the Year no question!”

Thousands of people responded to the image on Facebook, with one user saying: “Wow, that is an awesome office you’ve got there. Stay safe and thank you for the amazing work you do.”

Another user simply said: “Now that’s a selfie!”

With the photograph being shared thousands of times across social media, supporters have urged people to “make a difference” and donate to Virunga’s conservation efforts.

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Sri Lanka explosions: At least 190 dead and 400 injured in attacks on churches and hotels | World News

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At least 190 people have been killed in a series of Easter Sunday explosions targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

Reuters news agency is reporting that more than 400 people have been injured.

Six sites were hit with near-simultaneous explosions, with officials saying two smaller blasts followed a few hours later.

The Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels, all in Colombo, were targeted.

Sri Lankan military officials guard St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo
Image:
Sri Lankan military officials guard St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo

Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district were also hit during Easter services.

A senior official told the Associated Press at least two of the blasts were suspected to have been caused by suicide bombers.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which are the worst violence since Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war ended a decade ago.

St Sebastian's Church in Negombo was badly damaged. Pic: St Sebastian's Church/Facebook
Image:
St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo was badly damaged. Pic: St Sebastian’s Church/Facebook

At St Sebastian’s church in Negombo, people carried the wounded away from blood-stained pews after the explosion ripped off the roof and knocked out doors and windows.

The church has appealed for help on its Facebook page.

The Sri Lankan government has declared a curfew with immediate effect and has shut down access to social media and messaging services.

A victim's shoe in front of St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo
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No one has yet said they are behind the attacks

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has convened Sri Lanka’s top military officials at an emergency meeting of the National Security Council following the blasts.

Sky News’ Asia correspondent Tom Cheshire said: “It suggests a coordinated, targeted attack on Christians. It is very unusual for Sri Lanka.

“It’s very, very worrying as people are trying to celebrate Easter.”

Damage at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo
Image:
Damage at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo

British Prime Minister Teresa May condemned what she called the “truly appalling” attacks.

Mrs May said on Twitter: “The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time.”

She added: “We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear.”

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of reports of a number of explosions in Sri Lanka, including Colombo, and we are urgently seeking information from the local authorities.

“British nationals in Sri Lanka should follow the instructions of the local authorities and check FCO travel advice for updates.”

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