A few days ago we reported the looming tropical disaster predicted to rock Northern Mozambique. Cyclone Kenneth struck on Thursday with winds of 220km/h (140mph) after hitting the Comoros islands, where the UN claims three lives were lost. Winds eased on Friday, but France’s meteorological agency said up to 800mm of rain was expected to land on Mozambique over the coming days – nearly double the 10-day accumulated rainfall that flooded the port city of Beira during Cyclone Idai. According to Clare Nullis, the spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), “Tropical Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in northern Mozambique near the border with Tanzania in an area where no storm since the satellite-era has ever been observed, so, people in that area have never experienced a tropical cyclone, and they’ve certainly never experienced a tropical cyclone of that intensity.”
At the moment, the damage to power lines in parts of the region is making communication difficult but over 20,000 people have taken shelter in makeshift displacement centres, including schools and churches with the death toll at five. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies shared images of the damage on social media. In a tweet, the group confirmed it had volunteers on the ground assisting communities.
Although Cyclone Kenneth has now been downgraded to a tropical depression by WMO, some 700,000 people are believed to remain at risk, according to Mozambique’s national disaster management agency, INGC. The UN is working with the Government and other humanitarian organizations on an immediate response plan for the north of the country.