Published: Thu, May 02, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Cyclone Kenneth: Rescue efforts under way in northern Mozambique

Cyclone Kenneth: Rescue efforts under way in northern Mozambique

United Nations humanitarian spokeswoman Gemma Connell says bad weather kept badly needed supplies from arriving in the main city of Pemba on Monday.

The government again urged residents of Pemba to flee to higher ground. "Just six weeks ago we faced a similar situation in central Mozambique when Cyclone Idai hit the region and floods cut off communities for days". It was the first time in recorded history that two cyclones had targeted Mozambique in a single season. "They urgently need food, water and shelter to survive the coming days", Nicholas Finney, Save the Children's response team leader in Mozambique, said. At least three bridges had collapsed, stranding some communities. In Pemba, 35,000 houses were completely or partially destroyed, authorities said, while outside the city crops were destroyed and villagers waded through flooded fields with wood, salvaged maize and other products on their heads.

Five people in all were thought to be buried there, Joachim said.

"We managed to send one flight with World Food Programme (WFP) supplies of rice and biscuits, and some non-food items", Mr Abreu told news agency AFP.

Women and children have been the hardest hit "without the basics that they need to get by", especially shelter, she said.

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But WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel later told reporters in Geneva that the first flight had taken off for Quissanga with 2.88 metric tonnes of high-energy biscuits, a tone of food from the government and 100 kilogrammes (220 pounds) of health and sanitary supplies.

Cyclone Kenneth delivered another blow to Mozambique after Cyclone Idai killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands in the country in March.

The storm lost strength, but torrential rain was still battering the area on Monday, with more expected. Only a quarter of the funding needed for Idai relief efforts has come in while funding for Kenneth has been slow.

Fellow resident Tina Machude, whose home was largely flattened, said she had watched houses fall one by one in the storm and floods. "We are having to stretch across the two operations. Since Sunday the rain has caused real problems getting to some of the cyclone hit areas by road, and we've also found the limited number of helicopters that are available can not fly because of the weather". Rains continued to pound Pemba and surrounding areas on Tuesday causing massive flooding and destruction.

A deserted verandah is seen submerged in water in Pemba city on the northeastern coast of Mozambique, Tuesday, April, 30, 2019.

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