Cyclone Kenneth arrived just six weeks after Cyclone Idai tore into central Mozambique, killing more than 600 people and displacing scores of thousands. The U.N. called it the first time in known history that the southern African nation has been hit by two cyclones in one season.
Families urgently need the generosity of the international community
Forecasters said the new cyclone made landfall Thursday night in a part of Mozambique that has not seen such a storm in at least 60 years. Mozambique’s local emergency operations centre said a woman in the city of Pemba was killed by a falling tree, while a “high number” of houses in Macomia district in Cabo Delgado province were destroyed. Four ships sank off Palma town, with no reported deaths, the centre said.
“Cyclone Kenneth may require a major new humanitarian operation” in one of the world’s poorest nations, even as post-Cyclone Idai relief operations are expected to continue for months, U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said in a statement.
“The families whose lives have been turned upside down by these climate-related disasters urgently need the generosity of the international community to survive over the coming months,” he said.
Cyclone Kenneth packed the power of a Category 4 hurricane as it approached Mozambique, with maximum sustained winds of 220 kilometres per hour, the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre said.
The government, which said it evacuated some 30,000 people ahead of the storm, and aid groups hurried to assess the damage Friday.
Twice as much rain as Cyclone Idai
The winds weakened after landfall, but danger remained. The cyclone over the next ten days is expected to dump twice as much rain as Cyclone Idai did last month, according to World Food Program spokesman Herve Verhoosel. While this region is less sparsely populated than the one hit before, Mozambique’s disaster management agency has said nearly 700,000 people could be at risk from the new cyclone.
Power lines were reported down in some communities of northern Mozambique, and Pemba city had significant power outages, said Katie Wilkes, a spokeswoman with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “It’s been a challenge for us even to have clear lines of communication.”
Devastation also in Comoros
While damage assessments are still in the very early stages, “we know this is a very vulnerable area, higher in poverty” than the one hit last month by Cyclone Idai, she said. The storm had earlier hit the Indian Ocean island nation of Comoros. About 1,000 homes were reportedly flooded, and key crops were destroyed, Wilkes said.