Joshua Sacco, a member of Parliament in the eastern district of Chimanimani, told Reuters that the storm had left a trail of destruction reminiscent of Cyclone Eline in February 2000, which devastated southern Zimbabwe. Around 100 houses had been swept away in Ngangu township in Chimanimani town, he said. There were people inside. "There were people inside", he told the AFP news agency, saying they were listed as missing.
"We need state intervention on a massive scale to avoid biblical disaster", he said. Thousands were marooned by the heavy flooding and, only caring for the lives, abandoned their possessions to seek safety on higher ground.
Authorities in Mozambique said heavy rains before the cyclone struck had already claimed the lives of 66 people, and displaced a further 17,000.
Most of the deaths were in Chimanimani East, Zimbabwe's information ministry announced on Twitter.
Heavy downpours in neighbouring Malawi this week have affected nearly a million people and claimed 56 lives there, according to the latest government toll.
As the cyclone hit, Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi appealed for emergency assistance for the victims before leaving for eSwatini.
As the cyclone approached, the Red Cross sent out more than 200 volunteers to areas most likely to be affected. Roads were flooded and the airport was shut down.
An official at the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) of Mozambique told AFP on Friday "there is extreme havoc".
The low lying city of Beira was the worst hit by Friday's cyclone, with Chinde to the north also taking a beating and communications with other villages along the coast severed by a 2-meter (6.5-foot) storm surge.
"The runway is full of obstacles and parked aircrafts are damaged".
The storm damaged a Mozambican transmission line to South Africa, cutting supplies by 900 MW and worsening an electricity shortage in SA.
South Africa's power utility company Eskom on Saturday introduced severe electricity rationing "due to the loss of additional capacity, which includes a reduction in imports from Mozambique", it said in a statement.