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Macomia. Photo courtesy: Pinnacle News
Cyclone Kenneth made landfall on the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado at about 17.00 on Thursday, hitting with particular force the districts of Macomia, Ibo and Mocimboa da Praia.
According to eye witnesses, houses and other buildings in all three districts suffered severe damage. The destruction in Ibo is of particular concern since this district contains the Quirimbas Archipelago, which is a wildlife haven and a major tourist attraction.
“Initial assessments show that 99% of Ibo district has been destroyed,” says CARE’s @dawmohamed. #CycloneKenneth affected at least 16,776 people in Mozambique. While our teams are being mobilized, heavy rain is continuing. pic.twitter.com/QcQIcxLcsF
— Jennifer Bose (@jennbose) April 26, 2019
Communications with the cyclone-hit districts are very poor.
Across Cabo Delgado there are power cuts, partly because of a breakdown at the Macomia sub-station, and partly because trees have been blown onto electricity transmission lines. Flights in and out of the airport in the provincial capital, Pemba, have been cancelled.
As a measure of precaution, most shops, banks and public institutions closed on Thursday, before the cyclone approached.
The government organised evacuation of the areas of the province thought most dangerous, moving people to safer areas (often schools and churches). By the time the cyclone struck, over 30,000 people had been moved, most of them voluntarily.
Parts of Cabo Delgado seem to have escaped relatively unscathed – this is the case, for instance, with the northernmost district, Palma, which is where multinational oil and gas companies are building factories to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG).
By Friday morning, the cyclone was moving inland, towards Niassa province, and beginning to dissipate. Cyclones gather strength and speed over water, but soon lose their intensity over land. Although the cyclone is effectively over, a system of low pressure over northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania will ensure that it continues raining in Cabo Delgado for the next few days.
Cyclone Kenneth separates five (5) districts in Cabo Delgado (Muidumbe, Mueda, Nangade, Mocimboa of the beach, and Palma) with the collapsing of this bridge.
— CIP Eleições (@CIP_Eleicoes) April 26, 2019
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