Royals send messages of condolence to countries affected by Cyclone Idai

By Catherine Wylie, Press Association
The Queen has made a private donation to the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal.

The royal family has expressed sympathy will all those affected by Cyclone Idai.

It is feared more than 1,000 people may have died in the disaster, which has brought heavy rain and flooding to parts of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The Queen, who has made a private donation to the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal, said she and the Duke of Edinburgh are “deeply saddened”.

In messages to the presidents of the three countries, the Queen said the thoughts and prayers of her and Philip are with all those affected.

The Prince of Wales, who also made a donation to the appeal, sent the “greatest possible sympathy” and “special prayers” from himself and the Duchess of Cornwall.

He wrote: “However inadequate this may be in the face of such dreadfully tragic circumstances, our hearts go out to all those who have been so cruelly bereaved or injured and to those whose homes have been destroyed.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they are “hugely saddened”.

In a message to the people of the three countries, they said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected by the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai across Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

“We are hugely saddened to hear of the loss of life and destruction it has caused, and our hearts go out to all those who have lost their loved ones, homes and livelihoods.”

The UK has already announced a total aid package of £18 million for the region but pledged to add another £2 million to match public donations to the DEC appeal.

The cyclone, which hit the southern African region a week ago, prompted a national state of emergency to be declared in Mozambique, where around 400,000 people are internally displaced.

Close to 1,000 homes have been destroyed in Zimbabwe while it is estimated more than 82,500 people have been forced from their homes in Malawi.

More than 200 people have been confirmed dead in Mozambique, more than 100 in Zimbabwe and around 60 in Malawi, while hundreds are injured and many more are unaccounted for, according to the United Nations.