The death toll from Cyclone Kenneth has reached 38 after the second tropical storm to hit Mozambique in a matter of weeks brought sweepings rains, heavy flooding and destruction.
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres – in a statement – called on the international community for additional resources that are critical for the response to the both cyclones in the immediate, medium and longer term.
Rising floodwaters, roads submerged and people trapped in their homes awaiting rescue. Kenneth – bringing winds of well over 200km per hour, collapsing homes and displacing thousands as the government struggles to cope with the immediate humanitarian response.
Secretary General’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric says: “At least 5 fatalities have been reported in Mozambique and more than 18 000 people have been displaced and are sheltering in accommodation centres as a result of Cyclone Kenneth which made landfall in the country late last week.
Dujarric says “At least 3380 houses have been destroyed, schools and health facilities have also been damaged – that’s according to our humanitarian colleagues. In the Comoros more than 41-thousand people have been affected while 4 people lost their lives and 182 suffered injuries related to the Cyclone.”
Of additional concern is that Cyclone Kenneth appeared in a region that just six weeks earlier was devastated by the sheer strength and breadth of Cyclone Idai with the southern African nations of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi – some of the poorest countries in the world, – the hardest hit.
Weather forecasts indicate further rains can be expected, with deadly mudslides already experienced in the Pemba region, further complicating recovery efforts.
“The UN and our partners are continuing to support the government led humanitarian response to both Kenneth and Cyclone Idai. And as you have seen in a statement yesterday, the SG extended his condolences and solidarity to the families of the victims and the government and people of Mozambique and the Comoros,” adds Dujarric.
The UN’s humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock earlier released 13 million dollars from the organisation’s Central Emergency Response Fund to provide life-saving food, shelter, water and sanitation assistance in Mozambique and the Comoros.
Initial reports point to extensive damage with several roads cut off and villages flooded as Deborah Nguyen of the World Food Programme explains, “We are very concerned because the water levels keep rising. It keeps raining since yesterday, and a lot of people have been displaced from their homes because we have more than 3,000 houses that have been destroyed.
“So, according to the government we have 700,000 people who are at risk after the cyclone, and 200,000 people who are very high risk. So we are gearing up our emergency operation to make sure that we can bring the food and aid that people need,” adds Nguyen.
Cyclone Kenneth marks the first time two cyclones have made landfall in Mozambique during the same season, further stressing the Government’s limited resources.
Malawi and Zimbabwe are also expected to experience continued heavy rains caused by severe weather activity in the region.