Cyclone Idai has had a “massive and horrifying” impact on Mozambique’s port city of Beira, the Red Cross says.
It made landfall on Thursday with winds of up to 177 km/h (106 mph), but aid teams only reached Beira on Sunday.
People have been rescued from trees, homes destroyed and roofs ripped off concrete buildings, head of the Red Cross assessment team, Jamie LeSeur, told the BBC.
The cyclone has killed more than 100 people across southern Africa.
More than 60 people have died in the east of Zimbabwe, including two boarding school pupils after their dormitory was hit when rocks swept down a mountain.
The death toll in Beira, with a population of 500,000, is not yet clear, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society’s Mr LeSeur said.
But locals have put in an “incredible effort” to reopen roads in the city, he told the BBC’s Newsday programme.