Thousands of people in remote areas of storm-lashed Mozambique were homeless Saturday and bracing for imminent flooding, food and water shortages as Cyclone Kenneth flattened entire villages, leaving rescuers struggling to reach them.
Kenneth, which has killed five people, struck northern Mozambique late Thursday, barely a month after the country was hit by one of the worst storms in its history, which claimed hundreds of lives.
“Too many small communities are completely destroyed, not a single house is standing anymore. I could see around 10 communities in this situation,” said Saviano Abreu, a spokesperson for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“On Ibo island, not only the main village but also other communities are destroyed,” he added after a first air reconnaissance mission.
In the village of Nacate, south of Macomia in the cyclone-ravaged Cabo Delgado province, many homes were destroyed, leaving families to fend for themselves in the open.
Maria Mendosa and Assan Madal and their young children Pizere, Naturesa, Ancha, Ida and Luigi managed to salvage a few chairs, a table, a mattress and cooking pots from their ravaged home.
“This will be a very complex humanitarian operation. I would say shelter is a huge priority, as rains are forecast in the coming days and water and food will be urgently needed,” Abreu said.
The UN’s children’s agency UNICEF said about 368 000 children were “at risk and potentially in need of lifesaving humanitarian support” following the second storm.
Prime Minister Carlos Do Rosario told reporters in Pemba – capital of Cabo Delgado – the death toll stood at five.
The first reported death was caused by a falling coconut tree in Pemba.
The Category Three storm reached Mozambique after swiping the Comoros islands.
The work of rescuers has been hamstrung by damaged infrastructure and communications lines. “A lot of people can be impacted in the region where the flooding is large and widespread,” said Castro.
“The most difficult thing is transportation, we don’t have helicopters yet. We need a lot of support, if you can help us we need support from helicopters.”
Communities in central Mozambique are still reeling from Cyclone Idai, which hit on the night of March 14-15, causing killer floods that swept away homes, roads and bridges.
The storm also smashed into Zimbabwe and Malawi. In the three countries, more than a thousand lives were lost, and damage is estimated at around $2 billion.