Mozambique Braces for Flooding After Cyclone Hits, Killing One

The second powerful cyclone to hit Mozambique in six weeks has left at least one person dead, destroyed homes and knocked out power, authorities said.

Cyclone Kenneth made landfall Thursday evening in the north of the country with sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour, and the United Nations warned Friday of massive flooding ahead.

The storm followed Cyclone Idai, which hit Mozambique in mid-March and was labeled by the U.N. as “one of the deadliest storms on record in the Southern Hemisphere.” Idai caused devastating flooding and killed 1,000 people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The World Food Program warned Friday that Kenneth could dump 600 mm (more than 23 inches) of rain on the region over the next 10 days, twice the amount of rain brought by Idai.

Mozambique officials said Friday that a woman in the city of Pemba was killed by a falling tree.

They said the storm had destroyed about 90 percent of the homes on the island of Ibo. Many homes in rural areas of Mozambique are made of mud.

The cyclone also cut off electricity on the island and toppled a mobile phone tower, cutting off communications.

Authorities said Pemba, the largest city in the cyclone-hit region, also had significant power outages.

“Cyclone Kenneth may require a major new humanitarian operation,” even as post-Cyclone Idai relief operations are continuing, U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said.

Antonio Carabante, relief delegate with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the organization was very concerned about the expected heavy rainfall. “While attention is often given to wind speed, we know from experience that it is rainfall � and subsequent flooding and landslides � that can be even more dangerous from a humanitarian perspective,” he said.

This was the first time on record that Mozambique had been hit by two cyclones in one season, U.N. officials said.

Before reaching Mozambique, Kenneth swept over the island nation of Comoros, killing three people.

Source: Voice of America

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