International News

Tens of thousands evacuated as Cyclone Kenneth hits Mozambique

A powerful tropical cyclone has made landfall in Mozambique, just six weeks after Cyclone Idai devastated the central part of the country and left hundreds dead.

Cyclone Kenneth battered northern Mozambique with sustained winds of up to 220 kilometres per hour late on Thursday after killing three people on the island nation of Comoros overnight.

Impoverished Mozambique is still recovering from the previous powerful storm, which made landfall further south last month, flattening the port city of Beira and killing more than 1,000 people across a vast swath of southeastern Africa.
A spokesman for Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) said the government has evacuated more than 30,000 people from areas likely to hit by the cyclone.

“The compulsory evacuation process will continue until we have all people on secure ground,” said Paulo Tomas.

The INGC said it had supplies ready to assist 140,000 people for 15 days.

The UN World Food Programme said the cyclone was “expected to bring heavy rains in the area, with more than 600 millimetres rainfall expected”.

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

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

“I was quite preoccupied by the sea because they announced six metre waves … the wind was very strong, and I’ve never seen anything like it in my 15 years in Pemba”, a Portuguese owner of a lodge on Wimby beach, Anabela Moreira, told AFP news agency.

Another local, Jonas Wazir told AFP that he “noticed that some precarious houses had fallen down”.

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