Sat, Apr 27, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Storm makes landfall in Mozambique

SUPERSTORMS:The Red Cross said it was ‘especially concerned’ about Cyclone Kenneth, as a number of communities were still recovering from Cyclone Idai

AFP, MAPUTO

People left homeless by Cyclone Kenneth take shelter in a community center in Moroni, Comoros, on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

A powerful cyclone made landfall in northern Mozambique on Thursday evening, barely a month after a superstorm slammed into the country’s center, leaving hundreds dead and causing devastation.

Cyclone Kenneth hit the north coast of Mozambique in Cabo Delgado Province after swiping the Comoros.

The UN warned of flash flooding and landslides. Some parts of Pemba were in darkness, and strong winds have felled trees and destroyed boats.

“Cyclone Kenneth is currently making landfall on the north coast of Mozambique,” the UN World Food Programme said in a statement. “The cyclone is expected to bring heavy rains in the area for several days, with over 600mm rainfall expected.”

That volume of rain would be nearly double the 10-day accumulated rainfall that caused flooding in Beira, Mozambique, during Cyclone Idai.

Forecasters at Meteo-France warned that Kenneth could trigger waves off Mozambique’s northeastern shore as much as 5m higher than usual.

“I was quite preoccupied by the sea, because they announced 6m waves... The wind was very strong and I’ve never seen anything like it in my 15 years in Pemba,” said Anabela Moreira, the Portuguese owner of a lodge on Wimby beach.

Local journalist Jonas Wazir said that he “noticed that some precarious houses had fallen down.”

The electricity supply in the city was down and strong winds were gusting since the afternoon, Wazir said.

The Red Cross said that it was “especially concerned” about the storm’s impact, as many communities in Mozambique were still recovering from Cyclone Idai, which hit on the night of March 14.

The most powerful storm to strike the region in decades, Cyclone Idai cut a path of destruction through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. It left more than 1,000 people dead and caused damage estimated at about US$2 billion.

Cyclone Kenneth on Thursday passed by the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of Comoros, battering it with high winds and heavy rains, the Comorian National Civil Aviation and Meteorological Agency wrote on Facebook.

“We must stay alert, avoid touching fallen power cables, wait for permission before driving and keep children at home,” it said.

Reporters in the Comorian capital, Moroni, saw shacks destroyed by the rain and wind, and high seas as a result of the cyclone.

“I have three children, one is small, just one month and 10 days [old]. We were here until 11pm last night when things deteriorated,” local resident Abdillah Alaoui told reporters. “It was our neighbors who evacuated us.”

Authorities in Tanzania on Thursday ordered schools and businesses shut in some southern districts and urged people to brace for extreme winds and rain.

The Tanzanian regions of Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma were at highest risk and could experience strong winds and downpours from the middle of Thursday, the Tanzania Meteorological Agency said.

Residents in Mtwara were already leaving the coastal enclave with their families, some on foot, for emergency shelters, witnesses told reporters by telephone.

Mtwara Regional Commissioner Gelasius Byakanwa ordered schools closed in the region and asked “students to stay home and employees not to go to their offices.”

However, he called on medical staff, police and utility workers to remain on duty.

“This storm will hit the north and we are expecting that heavy rain will provoke flash floods and landslides impacting the northeastern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula,” the UN agency said in an earlier statement, adding that it “is working under government coordination and with other humanitarians on an emergency preparedness plan.”

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