Cyclone Kenneth: Storm-battered Mozambique hit again

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Maputo (Mozambique), April 26 (IANS) Three persons have been killed in northern Mozambique after cyclone Kenneth made landfall only a month after another huge storm battered the coastal nation, authorities said.

The category 4 cyclone brought 220kmph (140mph) winds and killed three people on the island of Comoros on Thursday. More than 6,80,000 people were said to be at risk.

There is no previous record of hurricane-force systems ever hitting the region so far north before, BBC Weather reported. It was expected to weaken as it moved inland.

A “compulsory evacuation” of families was underway and would continue “until we have all people in secure ground”, INGC spokesman Paulo Tomas said.

On Wednesday after warning were issued, all flights were cancelled and schools closed.

Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) said 30,000 people were evacuated promptly.

Forecasters warned of heavy rains for next several days. The UN said over 600mm of rain was likely — nearly double the 10-day accumulated rainfall that caused flooding in the port city of Beira, further south, during Cyclone Idai.

Forecasters at Meteo-France warned that Kenneth could trigger waves up 16 feet or higher.

In March, cyclone Idai caused hundreds of deaths in the region. More than 900 people died when the storm brought devastation to Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe and at least three million people were left in need of humanitarian assistance, the BBC said.

The UN’s World Food Programme said it was working on an “emergency preparedness plan” with the Mozambican government and other humanitarian groups.

Some southern areas of neighbouring Tanzania were also bracing for storm and rain, authorities have ordered schools and businesses to close.

–IANS

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