Maputo [Mozambique]: Within a month of recovery from the devastating trail of Cyclone Idai that left more than 1000 dead, the Mozambican government on Thursday announced the evacuation of more than 30,000 people residing as Cyclone Kenneth made its landfall in the eastern coastal region of Africa.
Cyclone Kenneth battered northern Mozambique with sustained winds of up to 220 kilometres per hour late on Thursday after killing three people on the island nation of Comoros overnight, Al Jazeera reported.
“The compulsory evacuation process will continue until we have all people on secure ground,” Paulo Tomas, spokesman for Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), was quoted as saying.
The INGC said it had supplies ready to assist 140,000 people for 15 days.
The United Nations World Food Programme too said the cyclone was “expected to bring heavy rains in the area, with more than 600 millimetres rainfall expected”.
The volume of rain would be nearly double the 10-days accumulated rainfall that caused flooding in Beira during Cyclone Idai, the INDC said.
Mozambique, still recovering from the previous tropical storm, has been hit by two powerful cyclones within a short period of six weeks.
The new cyclone threatens an area of Mozambique where residents are not used to such strong storms, the UN humanitarian agency said, including concerns that five rivers and coastal waterways could burst their banks, leading to severe flooding.
In Tanzania, the government told students and workers in the southern regions of Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma to stay at home but said people living near the coast should evacuate.
Meanwhile, the UN, the Red Cross and other international aid organisations are bracing up for what could be another large relief operation, again in mostly rural areas.
“Although floodwaters have receded in most areas affected by Cyclone Idai, access is still a challenge as infrastructure was severely compromised,” UN World Food Programme spokesman Herve Verhoosel said in a statement.
“Another storm would be an additional blow for the people of Mozambique and further complicate the response in all areas,” he added.
He said the humanitarian agency has 300 metric tonnes of “food commodities” already positioned in Mozambique’s northern coastal towns of Palma and Mocimboa da Praia.
The UN called Cyclone Idai “one of the deadliest storms on record in the southern hemisphere,” and another major storm again raised concerns about climate change.
Even as authorities say a cholera outbreak is being contained, malaria is a growing concern.
The Indian Navy was the first responder in the evolving humanitarian crises in the aftermath of the high-end, Category -2 storm that hit Mozambique on March 15. Assistance was also sent to Zimbabwe and Malawi.