Cyclone IDAI and Cyclone Kenneth -> Mozambique
Mozambique news update.
Aid increases to thousands of displaced people in Mozambique after Cyclone Idai
The Associated Press
Published March 25, 2019
Updated March 25, 2019
Evacuees from Buzi village carry their belongings as they arrive at a displacement centre near the airport, in Beira, Mozambique, on March 25, 2019.
Authorities in Mozambique say that with a key road open to the badly damaged city of Beira, conditions on the ground improving and more international help arriving, vital aid to those hit by Cyclone Idai should now flow more freely. Cyclone Idai’s death toll has risen above 750 in the three southern African countries hit 10 days ago by the storm, as workers rush to restore electricity, water and try to prevent outbreak of cholera. In Mozambique the number of dead has risen to 446 while there are 259 dead in Zimbabwe and at least 56 dead in Malawi for a three-nation total of 761.
The death toll is “very preliminary,” said Mozambique’s environment minister, Celso Correia, who said it is expected to rise.
The U.S. military will join the number of international aid groups assisting in providing food and medical care to those affected by the massive cyclone, one of the worst natural disasters in southern Africa in recent history. Some 228,000 displaced people are now in camps across the vast flooded area of Mozambique, said Correia, who is the government’s disaster co-ordinator, briefing journalists on Monday. It is still too early to give a number of missing, he said. Diarrhea is reported in camps but he says it is too early to say whether it is cholera. He has said that it is almost certain that the deadly disease will emerge.
Aid teams are going to high points on islands created by Cyclone Idai and finding “a lot of people,” Correia said. Until all areas can be reached and assessed, it is impossible to say the disaster response effort has turned a corner, he said. When asked by journalists about people found sheltering in a school along the newly opened main road to Beira who said they had not eaten since the storm, Correia said the aid had to be prioritized according to necessity. At least they were found and aid is coming, he said. “They can still hang on for a few days.”
Correia defended Mozambique’s storm warning system, asserting that people knew weeks in advance that trouble was coming. More than 300,000 people were warned in advance, he said. “All reports say the system worked,” he said. Some residents of Beira and Buzi, however, have said they had heard nothing to indicate the scale of the cyclone and were shocked by the quickly rising waters, and some have expressed anger at the government for not giving more warning. Mozambique’s former president, Joachim Chissano, was at the press briefing and said authorities “did what they could” to warn residents. Chissano added that it would take three years to rebuild the city of Beira.
Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, deputy director of the UN Humanitarian operation, told reporters that “a lot more assistance” should be seen by Tuesday as more aid arrives at staging areas such as the Beira airport. He confirmed the reports of diarrhea in camps. “It’s a killer,” he said. He said the government is repairing key roads just enough to allow aid and other trucks to have access, with repair crews on hand when problems arise. They are being repaired “for now, and that’s good enough,” Stampa said. One bright spot amid the hurried response efforts is the weather, which on Monday morning in Beira was dry, partly cloudy and hot. With no rains, the flooded areas should be able to drain. “I’m pretty confident in the weather,” Stampa said. “It’s the only thing I’m confident about.”
The United States military says President Donald Trump has directed it to support relief efforts to help Mozambique with the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai more than a week ago. The U.S. Africa Command statement comes three days after Mozambique’s government made a formal request to the international community for aid. The southern Africa nation earlier declared a national disaster as its president said deaths from the cyclone could reach 1,000. Confirmed deaths are now close to 450. The U.S. statement says AFRICOM provides disaster relief “when it has unique capabilities that can be utilized in the U.S. Government’s response.” It says the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa will lead the U.S. military efforts and that its initial assessments have begun at the scene of the disaster.
Chinese rescue team arrives in Mozambique amid rising number of cyclone affected people
Xinhua, March 25, 2019
The number of people affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique has risen to 794,000, Mozambican government announced on Monday in Beira, Sofala province in Central Mozambique, adding up to 128,941 have already been rescued.
The deaths toll remains at 446, according to the Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development Celso Correia, who spoke at a press conference, stressing that the rescue teams have not yet finished searches at all affected sites. Correia said there were already cases of diarrhea reported in some accommodation centers, but the health system is assisting people, and the government is working with partners to make the mitigation plan more efficient.
Asked by Xinhua about the stage of donations and rescues, the minister said the priority is to save lives by delivering food and providing medical care. "We have support in donations and rescue teams that continue to arrive, but now the Institute for Disaster Management is making strategic management," said Correia. "It was exactly the kind of help we need, basically in the field of health, environmental sanitation, among other supports." On Monday morning a group of 65 members from Chinese rescue team arrived at Beira International Airport, followed by some 20 tonnes of equipment and materials for search and rescue, communications and medical treatment.
Minister Correia said that emergency operations are becoming more organized and with targeted approaches, being able to provide quick responses in a timely way.
At the request of Mozambique, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated to help those affected by the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai.
EU Reporter Correspondent | March 25, 2019
Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Commissioner Christos Stylianides said: “Mozambique is not alone in these difficult times. More EU support is on its way. We are working 24/7 to deliver essential supplies and save lives. We are also sending EU humanitarian experts to the affected areas to co-ordinate our assistance. I thank our member states for their generous support. This is EU solidarity in action.”
In an immediate response, the Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre has already received offers of assistance from Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom through the Mechanism. The assistance offered includes water purification equipment, Emergency Medical Teams, tents and shelter equipment, hygiene kits, food and mattresses and satellite telecommunications for humanitarian workers on the ground. Furthermore, a team of 10 experts from seven Member States (Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, and Slovenia) will be sent to Mozambique to help with logistics and advice.
This additional assistance comes on top of the €3.5 million in EU humanitarian aid already announced earlier this week for Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe as well as €250,000 provided to Mozambique and Malawi Red Cross Societies. The EU’s Copernicus satellite mapping services are also being used to help local authorities working on the ground.
Mozambique Cholera Cases Shoot Up As Health Workers Try To Improve Treatment Centres
03/29/2019 10:31 EDT | Updated 12 minutes ago
Officials say the disease can have a "huge impact" if it's not contained quickly.
Associated Press via CP
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
JOHANNESBURG — Cholera cases in Mozambique among survivors of a devastating cyclone have shot up to 139, officials said, as nearly 1 million vaccine doses were rushed to the region and health workers desperately tried to improvise treatment space for victims. Cholera causes acute diarrhea, is spread by contaminated food and water and can kill within hours if not treated. The disease is a major concern for the hundreds of thousands of cyclone survivors in the southern African nation now living in squalid conditions in camps, schools or damaged homes.
The Portuguese news agency Lusa quoted Mozambique national health official Ussein Isse for the new toll. Isse declared the outbreak on Wednesday with just five confirmed cases. Far more cholera cases already were feared. The medical charity Doctors Without Borders told The Associated Press it is seeing around 200 likely cholera cases a day in the Indian Ocean port city of Beira alone. The city of some 500,000 people is the hub of cyclone relief efforts.
The World Health Organization has warned of a "second disaster" if waterborne diseases like cholera spread in the impoverished nation. It said 900,000 oral cholera vaccines were expected to arrive Monday and a vaccination campaign will begin late next week.
WHO also has opened seven treatment centres with a total of 400 beds, including 100 in Beira. "We assume that there are lots of people who will get sick and we want to get prepared," spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva.
Cyclone Idai, which stuck March 14, destroyed more than 50 health care clinics in central Mozambique, complicating the work to contain the disease, Radio Mozambique cited disaster management official Rui Costa as saying. It is not yet clear whether any cholera deaths have been confirmed. "We're not going to test every single case (for cholera) because it's not difficult to recognize when you look at the diarrhea of a patient. Once you see it once, you always recognize it," Gert Verdonck, Doctors Without Borders' emergency co-ordinator for Beira, told the AP. Other suspected cholera cases are outside Beira in the badly hit areas of Buzi, Tica and Nhamathanda, he said, but the chance of spreading in rural areas is smaller because people are more dispersed. In urban areas, however, cholera "can have a huge impact if not contained quickly," Verdonck said. He said the 900,000 vaccine doses should be enough to cover targeted areas but that a second dose should be given after two weeks to strengthen protection.
The speed of the outbreak came as a surprise, he said. Earlier this week workers found 40 to 50 people with acute diarrhea at a health centre in Munhava, one of Beira's poorest neighbourhoods. "We had to improvise," he said. Without space for the usual treatment setup of beds with holes and buckets underneath, they carved holes in plastic chairs instead for patients with enough strength to sit upright. Outside, nails were pounded into walls to hand IV drips to rehydrate patients. "You cannot wait to have a nice five-star tent," Verdonck said. "We tried to go as quickly as possible." Cholera is not difficult to treat but the treatment needs to occur as early as possible, he said. The cyclone badly damaged Beira's water supply, adding to the city's cholera risks. Some people have resorted to drinking stagnant water by the side of the road, increasing the chances of diarrhea. Others are drinking water from contaminated wells.
Some of the hardest-hit communities remain cut off from aid 15 days after the cyclone, and people are relying on heavily polluted water, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. "You can imagine how much we are sitting on a water and sanitation ticking time bomb," the secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Elhadj As Sy, told the AP after visiting a school where 3,000 survivors had only six toilets to use.
The cyclone death toll in Mozambique inched up to 493 on Friday, with at least 259 dead in Zimbabwe and 56 in Malawi. Officials have warned that those numbers are preliminary and final figures may never be known. Some bodies have been found and buried without being registered with authorities. Others were washed away by the power of the storm.
Officials in Zimbabwe have not announced any cholera cases in the country's cyclone-hit region. Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi has said the search and rescue phase has ended. He also declared that health care will be free for residents in cyclone-hit areas until the end of the year, Lusa reported.
The United Nations has said some 1.8 million people need urgent help across the sodden, largely rural region. Hunger is another growing concern, as the storm wiped out crops on the eve of harvest. Officials have found a slender hope in the weather report, which appears free of rain for the next several days.
Beira situation not improving.
'It's not safe anywhere:' Mozambique cyclone scattered lives
We didn't know his name or even see his face. But amid the grim scene of a cyclone-devastated village, the little boy stood out because he danced. He skipped down the muddy street in Buzi to music only he could hear, oblivious to the suffering around him, at least for a while. He was barefoot and in muddy shorts. He likely wore the only clothing he had left. Like many children in the wake of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, he was alone. But he seemed to have a destination, and that put him well ahead of most. He was almost certainly headed to a makeshift shelter or the concrete floor of a school, now crammed with wet laundry, cooking fires and displaced people.
Life there was perilous. At one school, another small boy lay curled up in a doorway, dozing next to a pile of still-warm ashes. Hundreds of thousands of uprooted lives, many of them children, have been scattered by the storm that roared in on March 14. Homes were washed away by rivers that burst their banks, sending waters rushing over a vast stretch of central Mozambique, as high as the tops of trees. Survivors described opening the doors of their homes to water that reached their necks. They raced to gather their families and scramble onto rooftops. There they stayed, sometimes for days. They drank the water around them, as filthy as it was, to stay alive.
On one rooftop a woman gave birth. The baby lived. Finally, in some cases, a helicopter appeared. It dropped biscuits to eat. And it posed an immediate and painful decision: Whom to save first? Some families were ripped apart as women or children, or the injured, were whisked away. What remains, more than two weeks after the cyclone made landfall, is a sodden landscape of disconnectedness and grief.
Phones barely ring or ping, if at all. Internet service was severed and is only now inching back with the aid of emergency responders. In flashes of hope, people have scouted out the highest points on the flat landscape, waving cellphones in the air: A three-story building in Buzi. A highway overpass in the city of Beira, home to 500,000 and now 90 percent destroyed. Those who couldn't find a signal were despondent over the chances of finding missing loved ones.
Officials who are pressed for estimates of the number of missing people don't even try. Even the death toll, now above 700 in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, is called very preliminary. It may never be known. The numbers offered by humanitarian agencies have become a blur. Some 1.8 million people in urgent need. Nearly 136,000 people displaced in worst-hit Mozambique alone. More than 50,000 homes there destroyed.
In the port city of Beira, fishing boats pulled up one by one on the beach carrying survivors ashore from Buzi and other places. Children huddled, damp and bewildered, until aid workers drove them away in the back of a pickup truck. They were destined for one of many impromptu displacement camps, likely a school. Conditions in the camps are often squalid, with little clean water, sanitation or medical supplies. A cholera outbreak has begun, and is gaining speed. Amid the chaos, families still search for children, parents, spouses, often in vain.
Some survivors stood on the beach in Beira and watched the fishing boats arrive, looking for a familiar face in the crowd. Zacarias Mauta stood alone. He had come from Buzi, where he survived by climbing a tree. Four days later a helicopter plucked him up and brought him to Beira, a city he had never seen. He wants to reunite with his family, including four children under the age of 6. He hopes they were taken to Beira as well but does not know. "I wanted to hold my family but I couldn't," he said of their separation in the storm. "I was also in jeopardy." Maybe he will find an acquaintance who knows their fate. Maybe he will find work in the unfamiliar city so he can keep looking for them. Maybe the government will help him.
The cyclone taught him this, he said: "It's not safe anywhere anymore."
Big powers provide negligible support for #CycloneIdai relief
31 March 2019, 09:50am
By Shannon Ebrahim
Even before Cyclone Idai ravaged Mozambique two weeks ago, the country was listed as the second poorest country in the world according to the world’s leading economists. Zimbabwe is also ranked in the top 10 poorest countries in the world with 95% unemployment, and is now struggling to cope with mass devastation in the wake of Cyclone Idai. The poorest of the poor are being faced with the worst natural disaster Southern Africa has seen in decades, yet the world’s big powers are being stingy at best, providing minimal relief compared to what the UN says is required.
In the wake of the massive devastation in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, the UN made a flash appeal last Tuesday for US$282 million, but the world’s largest donors have pledged a paltry US$51.6 million - one sixth of what is needed. “The milk of human kindness seems to have dried up for this side of the world,” Minister for International Relations Lindiwe Sisulu has said, calling Mozambique’s President Felipe Nyusi "very lonely in his plight".
“This is the worst devastation I have seen outside of a war situation in Africa,” Sisulu said on her return from a helicopter trip over the devastation in Beira on Thursday. “The area is totally destroyed and resembles a rice paddy, and two weeks later the real body count begins. It seems the world has grown accustomed to disasters, and for many Mozambique and Zimbabwe are far flung and insignificant,” Sisulu said. The needs on the ground are so great that the UN is set to revise its flash appeal in the coming days, and is expected to announce a new flash appeal far greater than US$282 million. Major donors are giving minimal amounts to relief efforts compared to what the situation calls for, while claiming great generosity, and some big powers are yet to even contribute to the relief efforts.
The largest donor to the Cyclone affected areas to date is the United Kingdom, which is providing the equivalent of US$26 million in humanitarian relief, or 9% of the originally estimated total needs of the cyclone ravaged areas. The next largest donor is the United States which has pledged a total of US$7.5 million, which includes its US$3.4 million donation to the World Food Program. Norway has pledged US$ 5.5 million, Germany US$ 4.8 million, Canada US$ 2.6 million, France US$ 2.2 million, Switzerland US$ 2 million, and Turkey US$1 million. China has provided an undisclosed amount of money and sent rescue and medical teams, and Japan has also been reluctant to disclose the money it has pledged, but sent disaster relief experts and medical teams. Russia is planning to send several transport aircraft with humanitarian aid. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have not been able to provide the amount they are providing to the region. “A few million dollars from each of the big donors will never meet the needs of the devastated countries in Southern Africa, it is time Southern Africa sees who its real friends are,” Dr David Monyae of University of Johannesburg told Independent Media. …
US army airlifting food and other humanitarian aid supplies from Durban to Mozambique
The US army has joined the huge humanitarian aid efforts with an around the clock operation through which food and relief supplies were being airlifted from Durban to the cyclone Idai-hit Mozambique. Spokesperson for the US mission in South Africa, Rob Mearkle, said the US Consul General, Sherry Zalika Sykes, visited King Shaka International Airport on Sunday to view yet another shipment of food and other supplies from the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Mearkle said the US army was providing airlift support in South Africa for the USAID-led humanitarian response to cyclone Idai. He said the first batch of supplies were jetted out of Durban on Saturday.
The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) and the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) expedited the necessary authorisations for the airlifts, while "invaluable assistance" had been provided by Swissport, Dube Port Cargo, Skytanking, BidAir and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), Mearkle said. He said the commodities that were being airlifted from Durban were from WFP's internal stock.
"Separately from these shipments, the United States has provided nearly $3.4m in additional funding for the WFP to deliver approximately 2500 metric tons of rice, peas, and vegetable oil to affected people in Sofala, Zambezia, and Manica provinces. This lifesaving emergency food assistance will support approximately 160 000 people for one month," Mearkle said. "To date, the US government has provided nearly $7.3m (R105m) in humanitarian assistance to help people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi who have been affected by Cyclone Idai, as well as flooding that occurred earlier this month. This includes more than $6.5 million from USAID."
247 new cases of cholera were identified in Beira during the 24 hours Sunday to Monday.
Mozambique cholera cases rise to over 1,000 after Cyclone Idai
Updated: April 2, 2019 01:59 PM
The mounting cases represent on average more than 200 cases of new infections each day
The number of confirmed cases of cholera in Mozambique after Cyclone Idai battered the country has risen to 1,052 people, the health ministry said late on Monday in a new report. The steep rise in cases comes after the first five were announced last week, meaning an average of 200 cases of new infections are being documented every day. The cases threaten to turn into an epidemic less than three weeks after the tropical cyclone made landfall and killed more than 500 people in the country’s central provinces. Although hundreds have been taken ill with cholera since last week, only one death has been reported so far, tallies compiled by the ministry showed.
A mass vaccination campaign is due to be rolled out on Wednesday as authorities and aid workers are scrambling to avert an epidemic more than two weeks after a devastating cyclone slammed Mozambique. Some 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccines were due to arrive in the cyclone-battered Beira city on Tuesday, from the global stockpile for emergency, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). "Vaccination against cholera begins on Wednesday in Beira," a senior Mozambican health official Ussein Isse said. The central city of Beira is the worst affected, accounting for 959 out of the total 1,052 cases. The city of more than half-a-million people recorded 247 cases in 24 hours between Sunday and Monday morning.
Cholera is transmitted through contaminated drinking water or food and causes acute diarrhoea. The numbers of cholera cases is expected to rise due to the increasing numbers of people reporting to health centres with symptoms, said the WHO in a statement. "The next few weeks are crucial and speed is of the essence if we are to save lives and limit suffering," WHO chief for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said in the statement.
Cyclone Idai's death toll rises to 843, hundreds of thousands displaced
Tuesday, 2 April 2019 09:00 GMT
BEIRA, Mozambique, April 2 (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of people are in need of food, water and shelter after Cyclone Idai battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. As of Tuesday, at least 843 people had been reported killed by the storm, the flooding it caused and heavy rains before it hit. Following is an outline of the disaster, according to government and United Nations officials:
Cyclone Idai landed on the night of March 14 near the port city of Beira, bringing heavy winds and rains. Two major rivers, the Buzi and the Pungue, burst their banks, submerging entire villages and leaving bodies floating in the water.
People killed: 598
People injured: 1,641
Houses damaged or destroyed: 112,076
Crops damaged: 715,378 hectares
People affected: 1.85 million
Confirmed cholera cases: 1,052
Confirmed cholera deaths: 1
On March 16, the storm hit eastern Zimbabwe, where it flattened homes and flooded communities in the Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.
People killed: 185, according to government. The U.N. migration agency puts the death toll at 259.
People injured: 200
People displaced: 16,000 households
People affected: 250,000
Before it arrived, the storm brought heavy rains and flooding to the lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje, in Malawi's south. The rains continued after the storm hit, compounding the misery of tens of thousands of people.
People killed: 60
People injured: 672
People displaced: 19,328 households
People affected: 868,895 (Reporting by Emma Rumney and Stephen Eisenhammer in Beira, Tom Miles in Geneva, MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare and Frank Phiri in Blantyre; Writing by Alexandra Zavis, Alexander Winning and Joe Bavier; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
More than 4,000 cholera cases and seven deaths from the illness reported in Mozambique.
Death toll from devastating Cyclone Idai rises above 1,000
April 11, 2019 - 8 hours ago
The death toll from a storm that crashed into southeast Africa last month has risen above 1,000, with more than 4,000 cases of cholera reported among survivors in Mozambique, the hardest-hit country. … The cyclone made landfall the night of March 14 near the Mozambican port city of Beira, bringing heavy winds and rains, before moving inland to neighbouring Zimbabwe and Malawi. Zimbabwe on Wednesday updated the number of dead to 344, while Mozambique has reported 602 deaths. In Malawi, 59 people died in heavy rains before the onset of Idai. The final death toll may never be confirmed. Zimbabwe's efforts were "confined to the recovery of the deceased" and the government will send pathologists to Mozambique to assist with identifying the dead, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said on Wednesday. … The UN is seeking $282m to fund emergency assistance over the next three months. …
Since a cholera outbreak was declared on March 27 in Mozambique, the government has recorded 4,072 cases of the disease and seven deaths. The majority of the cases have been reported in Beira, which was badly hit by the storm and subsequent flooding. Running water has recently been restored, reaching around 60 percent of a population of around 500,000. … More than 745,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine have been distributed since the vaccination campaign launched last week, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. Malaria is another concern as floodwaters recede, with more than 7,500 cases reported, according to the government.
Quest to find Mozambique cyclone victims takes toll
Cara Anna, Associated Press
Published 10:30 p.m. ET April 9, 2019 | Updated 10:31 p.m. ET April 9, 2019
Magaru, Mozambique — He was haunted by the thought of a small child’s skull, unburied and lost in the debris of a cyclone that had claimed hundreds of lives. Stephen Fonseca stood in a field of ruined maize where a tiny spine had been found, and he wanted to find the rest of the body. But in every direction were scattered kernels and stalks bleached by the sun. At a glance, much of the landscape looked like bones.
The stark scene brought home the overwhelming challenge faced by Fonseca, the only body recovery specialist to search the rural Mozambique region struck by Cyclone Idai, since he waded into the devastation nearly a month ago. If a final death toll ever emerges – it is now more than 600 in Mozambique alone – it will be strongly informed by Fonseca’s work in the field, and the quest to name the missing and the dead. The storm tore apart frightened families and swept whole villages away, with floodwaters as high as treetops rushing toward the sea. Parents lost their grip on children. Exhausted people clinging to branches for days fell into the waters and drowned. For days on end, Fonseca followed the accounts of villagers who spoke of seeing the dead floating by.
As the waters began to recede, he walked for miles through mud so thick it sucked boots off feet. Crocodiles, hippos and snakes posed threats but hungry dogs and pigs were a bigger concern. Fonseca needed to find the bodies before they did, and bury them well. His search was guided by smell, and animal tracks, and flies. It was uncomfortable but necessary work, as bare bones are far more difficult to find, and time was running out. “Some people think it gets easier. I think it gets harder,” Stephen Fonseca said of his work. “Now I’m a parent. I start to relate to some degree how absolutely devastating it is to lose a child. But I will never say I fully understand what they are going through.” “Some people think it gets easier. I think it gets harder,” Stephen Fonseca said of his work. “Now I’m a parent. I start to relate to some degree how absolutely devastating it is to lose a child. But I will never say I fully understand what they are going through.” “This is our one good opportunity to get as much as possible,” said Fonseca, the South Africa-based forensic coordinator for Africa with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
As he pushed through the rural farmland he met local people who were just as concerned about the dignity of the dead. Desperate for news of their missing family members, some communities sent out search teams. Bodies that were found were given a quick but respectful burial, even when they were strangers. Some of the dead wore the uniforms of neighboring Zimbabwe’s security forces, having been swept down mountainsides some 60 miles away by the raging waters. Burials were difficult work. Shovels, like homes, had been lost. Some people dug with their bare hands, then watched the holes fill with water from the still-sodden ground.
“They take the time because one day our time will come as well,” Fonseca said. He found the community burials comforting, with people even pausing from handing out badly needed humanitarian aid to take turns digging. And yet he knew the burials almost certainly went unreported to authorities, meaning they would not be counted in the official death toll and families might never know their loved ones’ fates. Shallow graves were precarious, too, vulnerable to animals and further floods, the possible scattering of bones. “You bury who you can but not always well,” said Ibrahim Ismail, a local farm manager. “So he’s helping.”
Fonseca offered to do exhumations and reburials but only with permission. One family that had tracked down and buried two relatives near a termite mound, a natural marker, decided to let them be. In their culture a person should not be dug up and moved, they said. “I appreciate what he’s doing. It’s life-saving for some of us,” said Manuel Joaquim Makanije, a community member who nevertheless understood the family’s decision. Relatives long for closure, but the bodies could be anywhere.
Fonseca came across the corpse of a young girl tangled high in a tree. A local man scrambled up the trunk and slowly lowered her to the ground, while children watched. On another long hike Fonseca saw a boatman ferry a woman to a body found on an island. The face was missing, but the woman wept, certain it was her missing relative. With forensic methods such as DNA tests, fingerprinting and dental records almost impossible in rural Mozambique, Fonseca respects what he called “cultural identification.” Clothing, location and other signs were considered in the interest of grieving relatives’ peace of mind.
Without a mandate from Mozambique’s government to issue death certificates or compile official figures, Fonseca instead gave community leaders guidance on handling the dead. He distributed wooden grave markers, body tags, gloves. It reflected his wider work in Africa helping to strengthen forensics awareness on a continent where people increasingly seek accountability, and answers, over the dead. Fonseca’s time in Mozambique was ending and he would soon head home to South Africa. The work, in very challenging conditions, takes a toll, colleague Neil Morris said. “Stephen knew when he needed to return.”
In one last try, Fonseca gravitated back to the maize field where nine members of a single family had died. Soon farmers would burn the fields to plant a short-term crop to help avoid months of hunger, as the cyclone had struck just before the annual harvest. The fires would further complicate identifying the dead. As people picked their way through the field salvaging maize kernels, resuming their lives, Fonseca resumed his search for what he knew were now bare bones. The farmers shouldn’t have to discover them, he said. “They’ve been through enough trauma.” He searched slowly. It took hours. “There’s a little cranium somewhere here,” he said, half to himself, thinking of the child. “Someone’s going to find it.”
Finally he stopped and tied a blue latex glove to a stalk of maize, as a marker. He had found a small shin bone. The bone likely belonged to the same child whose spine had been found not far away. In the end, the bones would be buried together. There were no child-sized body bags. Fonseca improvised one using duct tape. “Some people think it gets easier. I think it gets harder,” he said of his work. “Now I’m a parent. I start to relate to some degree how absolutely devastating it is to lose a child. But I will never say I fully understand what they are going through.” He and a local chief, Moises Mukoto, went to the burial site. Fonseca, sweating in the hot sun, dug open a small grave as the chief wrote the time of day in a notebook, and waited. The bag with the shin bone was gently laid in the hole alongside the tiny spine, which had been buried there earlier. Then the chief quickly hoed the earth back in place. “Even one bone is important,” Fonseca said. “It represents someone special.” The wooden grave marker, written in permanent ink, said: “Don’t touch. The body of a child.”
It will take months, even years, to discover the cyclone’s dead, Fonseca said. Not everyone will be found.
A further cyclone and serious flood event could develop in about 6 days in the northern Mozambique-Tanzania border region. A weak cyclone appears to form and stall just inland producing falls in the 250 mm to 1,500 mm range.
The prior two model runs:
The current model run:
The system dumps its wind and rain overland from late Thursday, stalls briefly then keeps moving inland.
12 hourly location positions
The storm takes around 3 days to clear the area after landfall.
A very wet symmetric Cat-4 at landfall with predicted rainfall areas >2,200 mm, and 3 hr rates of 190mm, during and after landfall. Each of the past 4 model runs has shown a worsening forecast, the system now forms and gets organized much further out with the current ecmwf run.
Apologies for the following garish looking images, I'm working on precipitation overlays with much higher than normal value ranges, when along comes a storm forecast with much higher than normal rainfall projections.
12 hourly location positions
Animation URL: https://i.windy.com/a/ddpy/559eed.gif
Cabo Delgado, Province of Mozambique
• Total 2,333,278
• Density 28/km2 (73/sq mi)
The as yet to be named cyclone (which will be Tropical Cyclone "Kenneth") and its remnant that's forecast to hit the northern Mozambique-Tanzania border area from Friday, will remain slow-moving over northern Mozambique for about 2.5 days of heavy rain.
Although the forecast wind strength is not as high as prior the rainfall forecast continues to worsen. The decaying remnant remains slow-moving overland in northern Mozambique for about 3.5 days creating a large area of very high rainfalls. This will produce major flooding.
This event will begin about 6 PM local Mozambique time on Thursday, April 25th, 2019).
8 fps Clouds Overlay
You can use or share this image on this URL: https://i.windy.com/a/ddpy/55a57x.gif
There are over 2 million people in the affected area.
5 fps Rain-Thunder Overlay
UPDATE: Summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Mozambique starts moving Cyclone Idai survivors closer to home
23 April 2019
In Mozambique, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the national government and other partners have begun the work of relocating families displaced by Cyclone Idai back to areas closer to their places of origin. On Saturday 200 families were moved out of emergency shelters in the central town of Beira. It’s hoped that over the next 10 days some 70,000 further people will be moved out of the temporary sites they have been living in for the past month. These sites include schools, communal halls, libraries and other buildings.
Cyclone Idai hit the southern African nations of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in mid-March. Hardest hit was Mozambique where the cyclone killed some 600 people with more than 1,600 injured, according to official estimates.
Nearly 240,000 houses have also been damaged and over 111,000 destroyed.
Families moved at the weekend came from the district of Buzi, the epicenter of devastation in Mozambique. There Cyclone Idai brought complete destruction. As a first step, they were moved to a transit centre in Guara Guara, some 55 kilometres from their areas of origin in Buzi.
Guara Guara is on higher land and is more suitable for families to restart a life closer to home until they are able to recover old houses that have been completely destroyed. On arrival, the families were assigned emergency tents provided by UNHCR and by INGC (the Government of Mozambique’s agency for managing natural disasters).
The settlement is equipped with potable water and latrines, and the national government – with the support of the UN World Food Programme – is providing food. MSF is operating a health centre on the ground.
The families will stay in Guara Guara for up to three days and will receive a plot of land (20 x 30 meters, totaling 600 square meters), a kit of materials to clean the land and build their new houses, and seeds to start farming.
UNHCR is positioning its available stocks of relief items – including mosquito nets, solar lamps, sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans and buckets – to be distributed to those families. Priority is given to the elderly, disabled persons, single women and unaccompanied children.
We are working with other humanitarian partners to ensure adherence to internationally accepted relocation standards, including the voluntary nature of the moves.
With an estimated 1.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Mozambique, aid organizations are facing immense challenges due to extensive damages to infrastructure and low funding. So far humanitarian agencies have been able to reach only 30 per cent of the target population.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
In Maputo, Luiz Fernando Godinho, [email protected], +258874230001
In Pretoria, Markku Aikomus, [email protected], +2781 797 7456
In Geneva, Babar Baloch, [email protected], +41 79 513 9549
From the current news summaries today it seems almost no one within Mozambique is currently aware that another cyclone and major flood are just about to hit the northern coastal area and hinterland. It seems as though there are not even warnings being given to the local population. The problem here is the 'cyclone' is going to form in close and deepen rapidly and impact the coast within two days. How can you warn people about a powerful cyclone that doesn't exist yet? They're not going to take the developing situation seriously until too late to do much.
Latest visible satellite image - 993 hPa and 40 kts.
Tropical Cyclone Kenneth has formed.
@ 65kts and 976 hPa
12 hour forecast location positions
The remnant stays overland in north-eastern Mozambique for about 4 days.
The forecast has not improved, cyclone Kenneth is going to spend around 4 days over a fairly small part of NE Mozambique (where about 2.5 million people will be directly affected by major flooding).
12 hr location positions
Latest satellite images indicate a Dvorak analysis of 70 kts and 985 hPa.
The latest vapor imagery is confirming that this will be a very wet storm.
Should be able to get a better view of this storm in about 6 hours just before the sun goes down. The forecast indicates it will grow rapidly to Cat-4 from now, before weakening to about Cat-3 prior to landfall. It's a bit asymmetric with most of the rain on its northern side. At present the ECMWF model appears to be over-estimating its wind category.
There's only about 24 to 30 hrs until cyclonic wind and rain conditions arrive at the coast
Cyclone-ravaged Mozambique threatened by new tropical storm
24 April 2019 - 08:15
A tropical system off Mozambique threatens to unleash a cyclone on the northern Cabo Delgado province just weeks after the country's central parts were ravaged by a powerful storm, meteorologists warned Tuesday.
The poor southern African country is still reeling from the impact of deadly cyclone Idai -- the most powerful storm to hit the region in recent decades -- which left about 1,000 dead in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The storm is forecast to make landfall late this week in Cabo Delgado province, reeling from violence at the hands of Islamists who have been terrorising villagers in remote communities for the past 18 months.
"The (weather) system we are talking about was a low pressure and today evolved into tropical depression," Aniceto Tembe, spokesman for the Mozambique Meteorology Institute told AFP in the capital Maputo.
The depression was north of Madagascar island Tuesday, approaching the Mozambique Channel where warm conditions are conducive for it to grow into a cyclone.
"We are projecting that a severe tropical cyclone may arrive and if the conditions allow it can even reach Category 3 tropical cyclone" strength - with winds of between 140 and 160 kilometres (87 to 99 miles) per hour, he added.
"The projections indicate that the system will approach the coast of Mozambique... mainly the northern part of Cabo Delgado and the southern part of Tanzania," Tembe told AFP.
In a statement Monday, the public works ministry issued a warning of strong winds and heavy rains that could cause flooding and destruction of property in the province of Cabo Delgado and its southern neighbouring province of Nampula.
It said 80,000 people were at risk.
The centre for disaster management issued a warning Tuesday of a tropical storm with wind speeds of between 80 and 120 kilometres per hour, expected to make landfall Friday in the gas-rich district of Palma, the nerve centre of Mozambique's nascent gas industry.
Hardline Islamists have launched several deadly attacks in the Muslim-majority, oil and gas-rich Cabo Delgado province in the past year, killing about 200 people, beheading some of them, and forcing thousands from their homes.
Last month Cyclone Idai cut a path of destruction through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe on the night of March 14-15, causing damage worth about $2 billion, according to the World Bank. In Mozambique alone, more than 600 people died among the 1.85 million affected, while over 340 died in Zimbabwe.
This is the first news article/warning that I've seen so far about cyclone Kenneth's approach. It'll make landfall within about 30 hrs (probably as a major cyclone) and almost no one there seems to realize what's about to hit them.
You said that « the ECMWF model appears to be over-estimating its wind category ». But do you compare ECMWF gusts forecast with sustained winds /1min?
RMSC La Réunion forecast 70 to 80kt /10min. which is in line with the max 70kt Wind predicted by ECMWF.
By which I mean the category indicated within the second image down in this earlier link.
It shows Kenneth as already a Cat-3 range (according to ecmwf) while a Dvorak (observation) analysis indicates 65 to 70 kt winds or low to mid-level Cat-1 at that time, and currently.
Your second image is based on Wind accumulation, and Wind accumulation shows the maximum gusts forecast on the map during the week. So that’s gusts, while Dvorak analysis gives sustained winds /1 min. forecast...if I’m right.
Yes, but it's not referring to some other Cat-3 cyclone later this week. The passage just occurred (over a few hours, not over a week) and ECMWF has put the max gust range inside the Cat-3 range, but from a low-end Cat-1 storm. That's presuming the Dvorak wind number is reasonably accurate, and frankly the clouds are not particularly well defined within those early images, with lots of cirrus smudging out detail needed to do the classification. So the (early) ECMWF cyclonic-range gust forecast looks rather optimistic to me.
But looking at the early satellite images (visually and subjectively that is) it's clearly just a fairly disorganized Cat-1 trying to get established, and not a system with Cat-3 level gusts (yet).
Cyclone Kenneth, 981 hPa and 75 knot winds. It's beginning to get its act together with a well-established outflow developing during the past few hours.
It's clearly beginning to flare up convection within this last IR image. According the the forecast it should build a core very rapidly soon after it passes by the Island to its immediate WSW. Clearly edging towards Cat-2, and an outer rain band is already impacting the coastline