cut a swathe through
cut a swath through (something)
To cause a lot of damage or suffering in a specific area or population. It seems that the high winds cut a swath through our neighborhood last night, blowing down trees and power lines on nearly every street. Severe malnourishment has certainly cut a swath through this part of the globe.
cut a swathe throughpass through something causing great damage, destruction, or change.
A swathe was the area cut by a single sweep of a mower's scythe, and so the width of a strip of grass or corn cut in this way.