Heavy rains spark flooding fears in cyclone-hit Mozambique - GulfToday

Heavy rains spark flooding fears in cyclone-hit Mozambique


This picture shows a destroyed house in Macomia district, Mozambique. AFP

Heavy rains from a powerful cyclone lashed northern Mozambique Saturday, sparking fears of flooding as aid workers arrived to assess the damage, just weeks after the country suffered one of the worst storms in its history.

Cyclone Kenneth, a Category Three storm on the hurricane scale, made landfall in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province late Thursday after swiping the Comoros islands. It made landfall a day later, killing one person and wrecking thousands of homes.

Mozambique's emergencies agency, the INGC, reported a death caused by a falling coconut tree in the port city of Pemba, Cabo Delgado's provincial capital, along with severe flooding, mudslides and widespread power outages.

It said Kenneth -- which has now receded into a tropical depression -- had damaged or destroyed 3,300 homes while about 18,000 people were housed in emergency shelters.

This handout picture shows displaced families from Paquete district of Pemba, Mozambique. AFP

On Saturday morning, emergency workers including Brazilian soldiers, OCHA personnel and officials from the UN children's agency UNICEF, arrived in Pemba to assess the damage.

On the tourist island of Ibo, home to 6,000 people, 90 percent of homes had been flattened, according to a spokesman for the INGC, Antonio Beleza.

"It looks like the island has been bombed... It is biblical," said Kevin Record, a South African tour operator and owner of a hotel on Ibo.

The work of rescuers has been hamstrung by damaged infrastructure, including communications.

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 (1.8 billion euros).

Agence France-Presse

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