Authorities in Mozambique have urged citizens to “seek higher ground” to avoid the flooding and mudslides that are sure to come in the aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth.
Prime Minister Carlos Do Rosario said the death toll from Kenneth stands at five.
Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management said Kenneth has destroyed more than 3,000 houses and displaced more than 18,000 people.
The government said most of the homes on the Mozambican island of Ibo, home to about 6,000 people, were destroyed.
“Ninety-five percent of the homes on Ibo have been destroyed — not only roofs blowing off, but down to the ground,” Kevin Record, an Ibo hotel owner, told CNN. “The situation remains dire.”
The United Nations Secretary General urged the international community to provide support for short, medium, and long term needs of affected communities.
“The Secretary-General is deeply saddened at reports of loss of lives and destruction in Mozambique and Comoros as a result of tropical cyclone Kenneth, six weeks after cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the secretary-general, said in a statement Sunday.
Kenneth is the second cyclone to hit the southern African country within six weeks.
Cyclone Kenneth made landfall Thursday, with sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour, prompting aid group warnings of massive flooding and mudslides that could put nearly 700,000 people in southern Africa at risk.
Emergency workers arrived Saturday morning in Pemba, a port town and the capital of the country’s Cabo Delgado Province, to assess the damage. .
After an assessment was done in the province’s Macomia district, Daw Mohamed of the global humanitarian aid group CARE said, “The entire area is a scene of vast destruction,” and that people were in need of food, water and shelter.
In addition to heavy damage in the Macomia community, aid groups said the communities of Quissanga and Mocimboa da Praia were also of great concern.
Aid agencies said they continued to struggle to reach victims amid the heavy downpours and that rescuers were hindered by damaged infrastructure, poor communications and the lack of transportation. “We need a lot of support,” said Captain Kleber Castro, who is with a Brazilian team assisting with the rescue efforts. “If you can help us, we need support from helicopters.”
Before reaching Mozambique, Kenneth swept over the island nation of Comoros, killing three people.
Kenneth pounded Mozambique barely a month after Cyclone Idai struck the country, killing more than 1,000 people in Mozambique and in neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi.
The U.N. labeled Idai as “one of the deadliest storms on record in the southern hemisphere.” This is the first time in recorded history that Mozambique has been hit by two cyclones in one season, further raising concerns about climate change.