Mozambique: Rains prompt flooding fears after Cyclone Kenneth

Rains from Cyclone Kenneth lash northern Mozambique, sparking fears of fresh flooding after devastating Cyclone Idai.

    Cyclone Kenneth, packing storm surges and winds of up to 280km/h, struck Mozambique on Thursday night [Getty Images]
    Cyclone Kenneth, packing storm surges and winds of up to 280km/h, struck Mozambique on Thursday night [Getty Images]

    Heavy rains have pounded northern Mozambique, raising fears of flooding two days after a cyclone hit the coast, flattened buildings and knocked out communications.

    Aid agencies said on Thursday that they were still struggling to reach victims and work out the extent of the devastation in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

    Cyclone Kenneth, packing storm surges and winds of up to 280 kilometres per hour, struck on Thursday night, destroying almost all the homes on the island of Ibo and killing at least one person in the port city of Pemba, Mozambican authorities said.

    "Worryingly, it is still raining heavily," said Daw Mohammed, aid agency Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere's (CARE) director of humanitarian operations, who is in Pemba.

    "We're still finding out [the impact]," said Matthew Carter, an official with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies based in the city of Nampula, south of the affected area.

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    "Tropical Cyclone Kenneth has now 'stalled' over Cabo Delgado province of northern Mozambique, where it is expected to bring heavy rains in the coming days," said OCHA, the United Nation's humanitarian coordination office, adding that it would remain in the area "for at least two days".

    "The stalling of the weather system is likely to cause significant flooding in Cabo Delgado, as well as high rainfall in southern Tanzania, over the next 10 days," it warned.

    Cyclone-hit country

    Kenneth hit the country still struggling with the aftermath of Cyclone Idai which hit further south along the coast in March, flooded huge areas of territory and killed more than 1,000 people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

    Kenneth is forecast to bring twice as much rain in Mozambique's north, prone to flooding and landslides, over the coming days, the UN World Food Programme has warned.

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    The government and aid agencies said 30,000 people had been moved to safety and a total of almost 700,000 were at risk.

    CARE said the government had set up 20 evacuation centres in Pemba, but planes were needed as many of the affected areas were not accessible by road.

    OCHA posted a picture of a bridge that had been washed away, severing a main road that runs through the district of Macomia, which officials said had suffered heavy damage.

    Mozambican officials said there were reports of damaged houses from the district of Muidumbe, further inland, but the IFRC noted that communications were still largely down there. 

    SOURCE: News agencies