Mozambique residents battled heavy rains Saturday as they continued the slow recovery process after Tropical Cyclone Kenneth slammed into the southern African nation, destroying nearly all the homes on a tourist island and killing at least five people.
The powerful storm made landfall early Thursday at the northern end of Mozambique‘s Quirimbas National Park, north of the city of Pemba, home to some 200,000 people. The area where it made landfall in a “sparsely populated apart from a number of villages with no experience of a storm of this magnitude,” noted Wunderground meteorologist Bob Henson.
During the storm, five people were killed in Mozambique, including a woman struck by a falling tree in Pemba and another in hard-hit Macomia district. Another person was killed, Mozambique‘s disaster authorities said, but details were were not immediately given, the Associated Press reports.
Two others were killed on Ibo, a tourist island located north of Pemba in Quirimbas National Park and home to about 6,000 people, where 90 percent of homes were “flattened,” Antonio Beleza, spokesman for Mozambique‘s emergency situation institute (INGC) said, according to Agence France-Press.
The latest fatality in Mozambique brings the death toll from the tropical cyclone to eight. Three others were killed on the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of Comoros on Wednesday, local authorities said.
Katie Wildes, spokesperson with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told the AP power lines were reported down in some communities, while Pemba city had significant power outages.
“It’s been a challenge for us even to have clear lines of communication,” Wildes said.
Relief has begun to flood into the poverty-stricken country even as heavy rain continues to fall.
U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said in a statement that Cyclone Kenneth may require a “major new humanitarian operation” in one of the world’s poorest nations, noting that this must occur “at the same time that the ongoing Cyclone Idai response targeting 3 million people in three countries remains critically underfunded.”
“The families whose lives have been turned upside down by these climate-related disasters urgently need the generosity of the international community to survive over the coming months,” Lowcock said.
The tropical cyclone came just six weeks after Tropical Cyclone Idai killed at least 600 people in Mozambique alone, making this the only time in recorded history that two tropical cyclones of at least Category 2 strength have hit the country in the same year.
INGC said Wednesday nearly 700,000 people could be affected by the storm.
“We’ve already evacuated 30,000 people from the areas likely to be hit by the cyclone. The compulsory evacuation process will continue until we have all people in secure ground,” INGC spokesperson Paulo Tomas said, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
The agency added that it was sending rescue equipment, including boats and helicopters that were still being used in Sofala province for victims of last month’s Tropical Storm Idai, which killed more than 1,000 people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and caused at least $2 million in damage, according to Africa News.
Before striking Mozambique, the tropical cyclone swiped the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of Comoros, known locally as Comores, where violent winds caused landslides, flash flooding and cut off roads, Agence France-Presse reported.
In the capital city of Moroni, trees and power lines were downed and motorists were told to stay off the roads.
Jonathan Erdman, senior meteorologist for weather.com, noted that Kenneth is the strongest cyclone to strike this part of Mozambique in recent memory, adding that there is no record of a hurricane-strength tropical cyclone in Cabo Delgado Province in NOAA’s historical database.
lt;img class=”styles__noscript__2rw2y” src=”https://s.w-x.co/util/image/w/gettyimages-1139192155.jpg?v=atw=485h=273″ srcset=”https://s.w-x.co/util/image/w/gettyimages-1139192155.jpg?v=atw=485h=273 400w, https://s.w-x.co/util/image/w/gettyimages-1139192155.jpg?v=apw=980h=551 800w” gt;