Cyclone Kenneth 'wipes out' Mozambique villages
Cyclone Kenneth has ‘entirely wiped out’ some villages in Mozambique, after making landfall on Thursday, 25 April 2019, according to a UN official. One aid worker said it looked like areas had been ‘run over by a bulldozer’. It comes just a month after Cyclone Idai killed 900 people across three countries, including Mozambique. The situation in northern Mozambique is worse than thought, a UN spokesman says, days after Cyclone Kenneth ravaged the country. The system struck the Africa nation on Thursday with winds of 220km/h (140mph) which flattened whole villages. Around 700 000 people are now thought to be at risk in the area as torrential rains continue. Pemba, regional capital of Cabo Delgado state, has experienced more than two metres of rain and flooding.
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) spokesman, Saviano Abreu, said the situation in the towns of Macomia and Quissanga was critical, adding that there were also worries for the cut-off island of Ibo.
Waves up to 4m high are expected and aid agencies fear rains will worsen. “We are very worried because, according to the forecasts, heavy rain is expected for the next four days,” Deborah Nguyen, UN World Food Programme spokeswoman, told media. “We expect the rainfall to be twice as much as that which accompanied Cyclone Idai,” she added.
Pemba is thought to be home to about 400 000 people and the heavy rains have placed many in danger. Landslides are a growing worry in the city’s Mahate neighbourhood, regional Ocha authorities said, while in the Natite neighbourhood houses have started to collapse. The World Food Programme has reportedly begun giving out rations to stranded people but destroyed roads have forced operations to end in the most isolated areas.
At least five people have died as a result of the cyclone and nearly 35 000 homes have been badly damaged or destroyed, national authorities say.
Brazilian rescue teams rescued about 350 people from flooded parts of the city on Sunday, 28 April 2019. On Sunday a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply saddened” by the impact of Cyclone Kenneth. UN agencies are aiding local authorities and Guterres appealed for “additional resources” from the international community “to fund the response in the immediate, medium and longer term”.
What is the affected area like?
Cabo Delgado province is not as densely populated as the area hit by Cyclone Idai and there is apparently more high ground there. That, in addition to warnings by authorities ahead of the storm, could significantly stem losses compared with Cyclone Idai. But reports said many thousands of homes had been flattened by the winds and the area has been hit by militant Islamist violence in recent months, which could complicate humanitarian operations. Thousands of people had already fled their homes to seek shelter from violence in camps for displaced people.
Rescuers struggle to reach Mozambique cyclone victims
Thousands of people in remote areas of storm-lashed Mozambique were homeless on Saturday and bracing for imminent flooding, food and water shortages as Cyclone Kenneth flattened entire villages, leaving rescuers struggling to reach them. Kenneth, which has killed five people, struck northern Mozambique late on Thursday, barely a month after the country was hit by one of the worst storms in its history, which claimed hundreds of lives. "Too many small communities are completely destroyed, not a single house is standing anymore. I could see around 10 communities in this situation," said Saviano Abreu, a spokesman for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
"On Ibo (island), not only the main village but also other communities are destroyed," he added after a first air reconnaissance mission. In the village of Nacate, south of Macomia in the cyclone-ravaged Cabo Delgado province, many homes were destroyed, leaving families to fend for themselves in the open.
Maria Mendosa and Assan Madal and their young children Pizere, Naturesa, Ancha, Ida and Luigi managed to salvage a few chairs, a table, a mattress and cooking pots from their ravaged home. "This will be a very complex humanitarian operation. I would say shelter is a huge priority, as rains are forecast in the coming days and water and food will be urgently needed," Abreu said.
The UN's children's agency UNICEF said about 368,000 children were "at risk and potentially in need of lifesaving humanitarian support" following the second storm.
Prime Minister Carlos Do Rosario told reporters in Pemba, capital of Cabo Delgado, the death toll stood at five.
The first reported death was caused by a falling coconut tree in Pemba. The Category Three storm reached Mozambique after swiping the Comoros islands. "Tropical Cyclone Kenneth has now 'stalled' over Cabo Delgado... where it is expected to bring heavy rains in the coming days," the OCHA said. "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," the agency warned.
In the coastal Macomia district, people were beginning to repair the damage by Saturday evening, 27 April 2019. Engineers were busy repairing power lines, while, in the light of a lorry's headlamps, others set about reconstructing a bank which had been destroyed.
Mozambique's emergencies agency, the INGC, has reported severe flooding, mudslides and widespread power outages.
It said Kenneth, which has receded into a tropical depression, had damaged or destroyed 3 300 homes and about 18 000 people were housed in emergency shelters.
On Saturday morning, emergency workers including Brazilian soldiers, OCHA personnel and officials from UNICEF, arrived in Pemba to assess the damage. "We really need to know about the cities with 90 percent damage. Now we look for some aircraft and evaluate all the locations," Captain Kleber Castro of the Brazil rescue service told media on the tarmac at Pemba airport.
On Ibo, home to 6 000 people, 90 percent of homes had been flattened, a spokesman for the INGC, Antonio Beleza, said Friday. "It looks like the island has been bombed... It is biblical," said Kevin Record, a South African tour operator and owner of a hotel on Ibo. The work of rescuers has been hamstrung by damaged infrastructure and communications lines. "A lot of people can be impacted in the region where the flooding is large and widespread," said Castro. "The most difficult thing is transportation - we don't have helicopters yet. We need a lot of support, if you can help us we need support from helicopters."
Communities in central Mozambique are still reeling from Cyclone Idai, which hit on the night of 14-15 March 2019, causing killer floods that swept away homes, roads and bridges. The storm also smashed into Zimbabwe and Malawi. In the three countries, more than a thousand lives were lost and damage is estimated at around $2-billion (R28,8-billion).
At 10h00 on Monday 29 April 2019, Rescue South Africa once again set off for Mozambique to assist in Pemba and Montepuez, Cabo Delgado province, where Cyclone Kennet hit on Thursday and where up to 700 mm of rain was expected to fall by Monday.
They received a request from the United Nations as well as Mozambique’s emergency agency, the INGC. According to Ian Scher, CEO of Rescue South Africa, “After a very successful rescue mission to Beira in March for Cyclone Idai the team are ready to respond once again, living out our motto “Africans helping Africans.”