THOUSANDS of people living in northern Mozambique have been evacuated to safety as Cyclone Kenneth, the first ever hurricane strength tropical storm in this region, threatens to wreak havoc after it made landfall earlier.
Three incidents of death were reportedly caused by the new hurricane strength cyclone that threatens further destruction in the country where almost two million people were displaced and nearly a thousand were killed by Cyclone Idai a little more than a month ago.
Fears that renewed flooding might again cost the lives of hundreds of people are growing by the hour and more than 30 000 people have already be evacuated to higher ground where they will be housed in buildings stronger than their traditional houses in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado
Cyclone Kenneth is the first tropical cyclone with the equivalent of hurricane strength to strike since modern record-keeping started 60 years ago. Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in Cabo Delgado and had maximum sustained winds of 200 kilometre per hour, the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans, as it moved onshore.
Red Cross teams in northern Mozambique are reporting serious damage in towns and communities that were struck by Kenneth on Thursday night.
One woman was killed by a falling tree in Pemba. Significant power outages plagued the coastal city, where winds gusted at 70 kilometres per hour before weather-recording instruments stopped reporting.
Prior to reaching Mozambique, Cyclone Kenneth was directly responsible for the deaths of three people in the island nation of Comoros on Wednesday night.
About 90 percent of homes, which were mostly made of mud, may have been destroyed in the main village on Ibo Island, Mozambique, Reuters reported. Ibo is located near where Kenneth came onshore. There are also reports of homes destroyed in Quissang
“Aside from storm damage, the greatest risk will immediately be from flooding due to heavy rains. Rivers within this region of Mozambique may flood, especially as at least one of the dams is already close to full capacity, preventing flood water from being retained. This will make it almost impossible to distribute aid as roads will become impassable,” said Marc Nosbach, CARE Mozambique’s country director.
The areas being affected by Kenneth were largely spared from any of former Tropical Cyclone Idai’s destruction in March.
Many locations in central Mozambique, including Beira, suffered catastrophic damage. Residents are still trying to rebuild and recover from Tropical Cyclone Idai more than a month after the storm’s landfall.
Pictured: Hurricane strength Cyclonne Kenneth sowed destruction as it made landfall in northern Mozambique.
In the meantime Zimbabwe’s Civil Protection Unit urged people living in flood prone and low-lying areas of Mbire, Muzarabani, Mt Darwin, Nyanga, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutoko, Mudzi and Gokwe North to be “on high alert”.
“The Department of Civil Protection together with the Meteorological Services Department will be closely monitoring the situation at an interval of every three hours considering that we are likely to receive some heavy downpours,” CPU director Nathan Nkomo said in a statement.
The CPU called on district and provincial administrators to “active their committees in preparation to respond to the effects of Cyclone Kenneth in the event that it degenerates into a natural calamity.”