FILE - Victims of the Cyclone Idai are pictured in Beira, Mozambique, March 16, 2019.
FILE - Victims of the Cyclone Idai are pictured in Beira, Mozambique, March 16, 2019.

Three days of national mourning began Wednesday in Mozambique after one of the most destructive storms to strike southern Africa in decades killed hundreds of people..

Cyclone Idai, packing sustained winds of up to 170 kilometers per hour, hit Mozambique's port city of Beira last Thursday before sweeping inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Forecasters predict more torrential rains are expected through Thursday and floodwaters are still rising. Aid groups are trying to transport essential goods to desperate survivors.

Family members dig for their son, who got buried in the mud when Cyclone Idai struck in Chimanimani about 600 kilometers southeast of Harare, Zimbabwe, March, 19, 2019.
UN Calls Cyclone Idai One of Southern Hemisphere's Worst Storms
Hundreds of people are dead or missing in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe

President Filipe Nyusi said Tuesday Idai had killed more than 200 people in Mozambique and that rescuers were still finding bodies. After flying over affected areas on Monday, Nyusi said he expected the death toll to exceed 1,000. The confirmed death toll Wednesday in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi stood at more than 300, officials said.

Aid agencies said they prepared for the cyclone but not for the massive floods that followed. Mozambique was hardest hit as a result of rivers flowing downstream from its neighbors. The agencies said they were struggling to reach many survivors stranded in badly damaged remote areas of Mozambique.

A general view shows destruction after Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 16-17, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video on March 19, 2019. (Care International/Josh Estey)
Aid Agencies Race to Help Survivors of Cyclone Idai
United Nations and international aid agencies are rushing food, medicine and other emergency relief supplies to hundreds of survivors of Tropical Cyclone Idai, which struck Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.Aid agencies say the full horror and impact of this cyclone, the worst to hit east-southern Africa in nearly a decade, will only emerge in the coming days. Many areas in Mozambique remain cut off because of the floodwaters.

Mozambique and South Africa are conducting aerial rescue and aid distribution missions. The U.N. World Food Program said it was transporting enough aid for 600,000 people. The U.N. said it had allocated $20 million from its central emergency response fund, and it urged other donors to contribute. The European Union announced an initial aid package for the storm-stricken countries valued at nearly $4 million. Britain and the United Arab Emirates have also promised aid. 

The U.S. State Department said the U.S. is supporting relief efforts "in coordination with our partners."