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The Muagamula river bridge in Macomia, cabo Delgado. Photo courtesy: @AllexandreMZ
The United Nations today estimated the need for a new large-scale humanitarian operation to respond to Cyclone Kenneth’s passage through Mozambique at a time when aid to those affected by Idai remains “critically underfunded”.
“Cyclone Kenneth may require a major new humanitarian operation at the same time that the ongoing Cyclone Idai response targeting three million people in three countries remains critically underfunded,” UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, said.
In a statement issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the official says he is “deeply saddened by the loss of life and destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Kenneth which first hit the Union of Comoros two days ago before making landfall as a Category 4 storm last night in the Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique on the border with Tanzania”.
With maximum sustained wind speeds of 225 kph and gusts that reached 270 kph, the storm ripped roofs off homes and continues to generate heavy rainfall resulting in massive flooding as it moves across Mozambique.
Mark Lowcock noted that this new “disaster comes just six weeks after Cyclone Idai devastated central Mozambique, killing more than 600 people, unleashing a cholera epidemic, wiping out crops in the country’s breadbasket, forcing a million people to rely on food assistance to survive”.
He also noted the massive destruction of homes, schools and infrastructure in one of the world’s poorest countries.
“Prior to the storm [Cyclone Kenneth] making landfall in Mozambique, the government and Red Cross volunteers alerted communities in areas at high risk of flooding, erosion and landslides, and relocated residents most at risk,” he said.
He also explained that the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is redeploying its leadership and additional staff in Mozambique to Pemba, in Cabo Delgado, the province most affected by Cyclone Kenneth, to help coordinate the government-led response and manage information.
At a time when the areas affected by this new cyclone are still difficult to access, Mark Lowcock underlined that “shelter, clean water, sanitation and hygiene kits, food and non-food items, power generation and telecommunication equipment are urgently needed, while the areas impacted by the storm are difficult to access”.
“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 heavy rains and flooding caused by Cyclone Kenneth,” he said.
— Alexandre (@AllexandreMZ) April 26, 2019
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