updated 3/10/2008 6:07:40 PM ET 2008-03-10T22:07:40

At least seven people have been killed by a powerful cyclone that lashed northern and central Mozambique, ripping off roofs and leaving many towns without water or power, government officials said Monday.

Cyclone Jokwe, traveling with winds of up to 125 mph, made landfall Saturday and has continued to move south along the coastline of the southeastern African nation.

Joao Ribeiro, director of the National Disasters Management Institute, said four people were killed in the coastal town of Quinga, and three died when a mosque collapsed in the town of Namige.

He said that more than 2,000 houses and 119 fishing boats were destroyed while roofs have been blown off schools and other public buildings and many towns are without power.

The National Emergency Operations Center, which has declared the highest alert level, red, for coastal districts, said there was a serious threat to shipping in the Mozambique Channel and told all fishing boats and other vessels to stay out of the sea.

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