Cyclone IDAI and Cyclone Kenneth -> Mozambique
More floods loom as Cyclone Kenneth hits Mozambique
Africa / 25 April 2019, 4:20pm
Ali Amir Ahmed
Moroni - Violent winds of up to 140 kph (87 mph) lashed the East African island nation of Comoros overnight, killing three people, authorities said on Thursday, as Cyclone Kenneth swept towards flood-battered Mozambique. In Comoros, the winds caused widespread power outages in the northern part of the main island, Grande Comore, and the capital Moroni as well as on the island of Anjouan, residents said.
By Thursday afternoon, the cyclone was making its way to Mozambique, just over a month after Cyclone Idai tore through central Mozambique, virtually flattening the port city of Beira, flooding an area the size of Luxembourg and killing more than 1 000 people across the region. Kenneth may strengthen before it makes landfall on the continent, said Dipuo Tawana, forecaster at the South African Weather Service. It could bring seven- to nine-metre waves and a three-metre storm surge, she said, and was likely to linger over Mozambique, dumping rain until late Monday evening, bringing a risk of intense flooding. "The rainfall that we forecast for the next four days in the northeastern part of Mozambique - we have between 500 and 1 000 millimetres (19.5 to 39 inches) of rain," Tawana said.
FLOODS LOOM FOR MOZAMBIQUE
In Comoros, a Reuters correspondent saw fallen trees and debris from homes scattered over streets, and houses with their roofs torn off. President Azali Assoumani told reporters that three people had been were killed and several others injured. A few taxis were driving around the centre of Moroni on Thursday morning as police and soldiers cleared blocked roads. Government offices and schools were closed.
In Mozambique, authorities said on Wednesday that five rivers as well as coastal waterways could overflow, putting over 680 000 people at risk from the storm. Antonie Beleza, deputy national director of Mozambique's Centre for Emergency Operations, said the centre had been telling people for days to move out of 17 at-risk districts. "There were some people, they didn't want to move as of yesterday, so now we are just taking them out," he said by phone from the northern port town of Pemba. At least 5 000 people had moved out.
The energy firm Anadarko, which is developing large natural gas fields off Mozambique, said it had suspended air transportation in and out of the site as a precaution. Exxon Mobil, also involved in the fields, said its operations were normal for now, but that it was monitoring the situation.
Kenneth's eye is crossing the coast.
Awesome image of Kenneth while the sun is going down in Mozambique.
The tide is almost full, the other half of the storm will be in the dark.
The eye is now fully on shore:
ECMWF is currently lagging a full three hour step behind where the storm is presently located. It's also showing a category lower than actual, and has seriously underestimated the central pressure of the system. The storm also didn't weaken before landfall nor shrink as it crossed. ECMWF is also moving the storm westwards with a northerly component to it, while the actual storm is moving westwards with a southerly component to it.
But besides those imperfections the model did reasonably accurately forecast several days back that a dangerous cyclone would cross the coast about when it did, approximately where it did.
If a forecast is meant to produce a useful accurate warning ECMWF has done that very well.
Current overland track details cyclone Kenneth.
12 hr location steps
Cyclone Kenneth makes landfall in Mozambique
Officials say 680,000 people could be at risk
A powerful cyclone made landfall in northern Mozambique on Thursday evening, barely a month after a super storm slammed into the country's centre, killing hundreds and causing devastation. Cyclone Kenneth hit the north coast of Mozambique in Cabo Delgado province after swiping the Comoros, where it killed three people. The UN warned of flash flooding and landslides as winds of up to 280kph battered the northern coast. Some parts of the city are in darkness and strong wind has felled trees and destroyed boats.
"Cyclone Kenneth is currently making landfall on the north coast of Mozambique," the UN World Food Programme said. "The Cyclone is expected to bring heavy rains in the area for several days, with over 600 millimetres of rainfall expected." That volume of rain would be nearly double the 10 days of accumulated rainfall that caused flooding in Beira during Cyclone Idai.
A spokesman for Mozambique's National Institute of Disaster Management said the government had moved 30,000 people to safety from areas likely to be hit by the cyclone. "The compulsory evacuation process will continue until we have all people on secure ground," institute spokesman Paulo Tomas said.
The disaster centre said it had food supplies ready to assist 140,000 people for 15 days. Mozambican officials said on Wednesday that more than 680,000 people were at risk from the latest storm.
There were concerns that five rivers and coastal waterways could burst their banks, leading to severe flooding. Forecasters at Meteo-France warned that Kenneth could trigger waves as much as five metres higher than usual off Mozambique's north-eastern shore.
"I was quite preoccupied by the sea because they announced six metre waves," Anabela Moreira, the Portuguese owner of a lodge on Wimby Beach, told AFP. "The wind was very strong and I've never seen anything like it in my 15 years in Pemba." Jonas Wazir said that he "noticed that some precarious houses had fallen down". Mr Wazir said the electricity supply in the city was out and winds were gusting.
The Red Cross said it was especially concerned about the storm's effects, as many communities in Mozambique were still recovering from Idai, which hit on the night of March 14. The most powerful storm to strike the region in decades, Cyclone Idai cut a path of destruction through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. It left more than 1,000 dead and caused an estimated $2 billion (Dh7.34bn) in damage.
Kenneth passed by the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of Comoros on Thursday, battering it with high winds and heavy rains, the country's Meteorological Office wrote on Facebook. "We must stay alert, avoid touching fallen power cables, wait for permission before driving and keep children at home," it said. Resident Abdillah Alaoui said: "I have three children, one is small, just one month and 10 days. We were here until 11pm last night when things deteriorated."
Tanzanian authorities ordered schools and businesses to close in some southern districts on Thursday and urged people to brace for extreme winds and rain. The Tanzanian provinces of Mtwara, Lindi and Ruvuma were at highest risk and could experience strong winds and downpours from the middle of Thursday, the country's weather bureau said.
Updated: April 26, 2019 04:35 AM
NASA's AIRS Images Cyclone Kenneth over Mozambique
News | April 25, 2019
This infrared image from NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) shows the temperature of clouds or the surface in and around Tropical Cyclone Kenneth as it was about to make landfall in northern Mozambique on Thursday, April 25. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Just weeks after Cyclone Idai left a path of destruction through Mozambique, Cyclone Kenneth is now battering the country in southeast Africa. It is likely the strongest storm on record to hit Mozambique, with wind speeds equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane at landfall. It is also the first time in recent history that the country has been hit by back-to-back hurricane-strength storms.
NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured this infrared image of Kenneth just as the storm was about to make landfall on April 25. The large purple area indicates very cold clouds carried high into the atmosphere by deep thunderstorms. The orange areas are mostly cloud-free; the clear air is caused by air moving outward from the cold clouds near the storm's center, then downward into the surrounding areas.
The image was taken at 1:30 p.m. local time, just before the cyclone made landfall in northern Mozambique's Cabo Delgado Province. With maximum sustained winds of 140 mph (225 kph), Kenneth was the first known hurricane-strength storm to make landfall in the province. Heavy rainfall and life-threatening flooding are expected over the next several days.
AIRS, in conjunction with the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), senses emitted infrared and microwave radiation from Earth to provide a three-dimensional look at Earth's weather and climate. Working in tandem, the two instruments make simultaneous observations down to Earth's surface, even in the presence of heavy clouds. With more than 2,000 channels sensing different regions of the atmosphere, the system creates a global, three-dimensional map of atmospheric temperature and humidity, cloud amounts and heights, greenhouse gas concentrations and many other atmospheric phenomena. Launched into Earth orbit in 2002, the AIRS and AMSU instruments fly onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, under contract with NASA. JPL is a division of Caltech.
Necessity is the mother of invention … and China also knows a golden opportunity to push its agenda when it sees one. For Mozambique the beggar can’t be the chooser, when no one else is coughing-up the foreign cash they absolutely need the kick-start their country again.
Xi Jinping Meets with President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi of Mozambique
2019/04/24 [i.e. one day prior to Cyclone Kenneth's landfall]
On April 24, 2019, President Xi Jinping met with President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi of Mozambique at the Great Hall of the People.
Xi Jinping said that Mr. President is welcome to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China. In this forum, leaders of various countries will discuss issues of common interest such as the alignment of development policies, infrastructure connectivity and sustainable development under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to make greater contributions to promoting the development of the world economy and advancing international economic cooperation. Mozambique is an important stop on the ancient Maritime Silk Road [oh gimme a break! lol] and it has actively participated in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative in recent years. The two sides have reached an agreement on jointly promoting the cooperation plan of the Belt and Road Initiative and will always remain committed to improving quality and efficiency of mutually beneficial cooperation while enhancing people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation so as to continuously inherit and carry forward the traditional friendship of "comrades + brothers" between China and Mozambique.
Filipe Jacinto Nyusi thanked the Chinese side for promptly assisting Mozambique in responding to tropical cyclone disasters. The joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative is conducive to the global economic growth and a balanced development, and is very important for Mozambique and Africa. Mozambique congratulates the People's Republic of China on its 70th anniversary and is willing to deepen its strategic partnership with the Chinese side, strengthen cooperation in a wide range of fields, and carry out experience exchanges in state governance and administration. The Mozambican side is willing to play an active role in joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative in the African sub-region.
After the meeting, the two heads of state jointly witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents such as the cooperation plan of the construction of Belt and Road Initiative. Ding Xuexiang, Yang Jiechi, Wang Yi and He Lifeng attended the meeting.
And that’s how you get the aid and ‘loans’ to fix destroyed National infrastructure when traditional foreign aid donors can’t or won’t pay, nor provide the loans to rebuild it. It's maybe not such a good idea longer-term, but they do need to get the country repaired immediately and there are no other options on the table.
Roughly 3 days more rain, clearing north.
The really heavy rainfall will come when it turns east and then north to back-out to sea and dissipate. The worst of the rainfall is forecast to come over the next three days.
Heavy rain and storms continue in north eastern Mozambique. The area has only been pre-wetdown so far but will now experience a major flooding event. There are at least two days of heavy rain to come, possibly three.
The predicted inflow of heavy rain and thunderstorms are currently growing over NE Mozambique
Cyclone Kenneth causing havoc & mass destruction
27 Apr, 2019 - 00:04
JOHANNESBURG/LUANDA — Cyclone Kenneth killed at least one person and left a trail of destruction in northern Mozambique, destroying houses, ripping up trees and knocking out power, authorities said yesterday. The cyclone brought storm surges and wind gusts of up to 280 km per hour (174 mph) when it made landfall on Thursday evening, after killing three people in the island nation of Comoros.
It was the most powerful storm on record to hit Mozambique’s northern coast and came just six weeks after Cyclone Idai battered the impoverished nation, causing devastating floods and killing more than 1,000 people across a swathe of southern Africa. The World Food Programme warned that Kenneth could dump as much as 600 millimetres of rain on the region over the next 10 days – twice that brought by Cyclone Idai. One woman in the port town of Pemba died after being hit by a falling tree, the Emergency Operations Committee for Cabo Delgado (COE) said in a statement, while another person was injured.
In rural areas outside Pemba, many homes are made of mud. In the main town on the island of Ibo, 90 percent of the houses were destroyed, officials said.
Around 15,000 people were out in the open or in “overcrowded” shelters and there was a need for tents, food and water, they said.
There were also reports of a large number of homes and some infrastructure destroyed in Macomia district, a mainland district adjacent to Ibo.
A local group, the Friends of Pemba Association, had earlier reported that they could not reach people in Muidumbe, a district further inland.
Mark Lowcock, United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, warned the storm could require another major humanitarian operation in Mozambique.
“Cyclone Kenneth marks the first time two cyclones have made landfall in Mozambique during the same season, further stressing the government’s limited resources,” he said in a statement.
Shaquila Alberto, owner of the beach-front Messano Flower Lodge in Macomia, said there were many fallen trees there, and in rural areas people’s homes had been damaged. Some areas of nearby Pemba had no power. [Pemba was on the fringe of the southern core] “Even my workers, they said the roof and all the things fell down,” she said by phone.
Further south, in Pemba, Elton Ernesto, a receptionist at Raphael’s Hotel, said there were fallen trees but not too much damage. The hotel had power and water, he said, while phones rang in the background. “The rain has stopped,” he added. [and is about the recommence in earnest over the next two days]
However, Michael Charles, an official for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said heavy rains over the next few days were likely to bring a “second wave of destruction” in the form of flooding. “The houses are not all solid, and the topography is very sandy,” Charles said.
In the days after Cyclone Idai, heavy inland rains prompted rivers to burst their banks, submerging entire villages, cutting areas off from aid and ruining crops. There were concerns the same could happen again in northern Mozambique. Before Kenneth hit, the government and aid workers moved around 30,000 people to safer buildings such as schools, however authorities said that around 680,000 people were in the path of the storm. — Reuters
Mozambique Braces for Flooding After Cyclone Hits, Killing One
April 26, 2019 5:55 PM
Children walk past a damaged building in the aftermath of the Cyclone Kenneth in Pemba, Mozambique, April 26, 2019, in this still image obtained from social media.
[Keep in mind that this house in Pemba was on the southern margin of Kenneth's core - this is the damage level from its lower windfield area.]
VOA U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.
The second powerful cyclone to hit Mozambique in six weeks has left at least one person dead, destroyed homes and knocked out power, authorities said. Cyclone Kenneth made landfall Thursday evening in the north of the country with sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour, and the United Nations warned Friday of massive flooding ahead.
The storm followed Cyclone Idai, which hit Mozambique in mid-March and was labeled by the U.N. as "one of the deadliest storms on record in the Southern Hemisphere." Idai caused devastating flooding and killed 1,000 people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The World Food Program warned Friday that Kenneth could dump 600 mm (more than 23 inches) of rain on the region over the next 10 days, twice the amount of rain brought by Idai. Mozambique officials said Friday that a woman in the city of Pemba was killed by a falling tree.
They said the storm had destroyed about 90 percent of the homes on the island of Ibo. Many homes in rural areas of Mozambique are made of mud. The cyclone also cut off electricity on the island and toppled a mobile phone tower, cutting off communications. Authorities said Pemba, the largest city in the cyclone-hit region, also had significant power outages.
"Cyclone Kenneth may require a major new humanitarian operation,'' even as post-Cyclone Idai relief operations are continuing, U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said. Antonio Carabante, relief delegate with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the organization was very concerned about the expected heavy rainfall. "While attention is often given to wind speed, we know from experience that it is rainfall — and subsequent flooding and landslides — that can be even more dangerous from a humanitarian perspective," he said.
This was the first time on record that Mozambique had been hit by two cyclones in one season, U.N. officials said. Before reaching Mozambique, Kenneth swept over the island nation of Comoros, killing three people.
Keep in mind that this NE Mozambique province has no record of a direct-hit from any cyclone on its shoreline (although there are several visible major scour lines from past very high-energy cyclonic storm-surge events all along its coastline on satellite imagery of the area) thus it's infrastructure has never experienced or even been engineered and developed to deal with such a storm event. And nor have the buildings, ports, water supply or power grid. It will take most of a week from landfall before we get a clearer view of what's really occurred and it will be much more damaging than initial reports from the margins of the storm suggest.
Good will and hopefully better luck for the people of Mozambique. Maybe this time countries that can will send more aid.
What next for Mozambique after devastating cyclones?
Africa / 2 May 2019, 7:03pm / Gregory Walton
An aerial shot shows widespread destruction caused by Cyclone Kenneth when it struck Ibo island north of Pemba city in Mozambique, Wednesday, May, 1, 2019. The government has said more than 40 people have died after the cyclone made landfall on Thursday, and the humanitarian situation in Pemba and other areas is dire. More than 22 inches (55 centimeters) of rain have fallen in Pemba since Kenneth arrived just six weeks after Cyclone Idai tore into central Mozambique. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Pemba, Mozambique - Mozambique is reeling after an unprecedented two cyclones swept ashore within six weeks, wreaking havoc and leaving hundreds dead and tens of thousands displaced. [Pemba was by no means the worst hit area either, the hardest hit areas are still to be revealed]
As relief efforts continue, Birgit Holm, director of the Mozambican non-governmental development organisation ADPP, discusses the impoverished southern African country's next steps on the road to recovery following Cyclones Idai and Kenneth: What impact did the cyclones have?
"They have had a very big impact, obviously." Though the first storm was much bigger than the second, "that didn't make the second one any better," said Holm, who has almost four decades of experience in Mozambique with ADPP. "We have a situation in several provinces where schools have been destroyed and health clinics have been destroyed -- bridges, roads too. In general these two cyclones have destroyed a lot, affecting more than two million people in all. "It sets back Mozambique, already a country which is very poor and with many different problems, so this has just been disastrous."
What needs to be done?
"The big need is for those with some means and some funding to go in and rehabilitate all the infrastructure that was destroyed. Because so many people also lost their homes and livelihoods, (but) it's not only a question of infrastructure," said Holm. "It's also about giving input to the people -- a lot of it will be agricultural inputs because a great number of the population are working in agriculture. That part really needs a lot of emphasis so they can get tools and seeds."
What does the future hold?
… "We need to look into how buildings can be reinforced and built to be more resilient. How small-scale farmers can learn to use new techniques, whether it's (to mitigate) droughts or floods. For several years in Mozambique, "we've had drought in the south, and people are suffering from that. Then we have floods in the centre and the north. So all these things have to be thought of in a different way from before. …
Will the cyclone 'spotlight' help Mozambique?
"It always helps, but you do fear it's just there in the short period of the emergency and then it goes away again," Holm told AFP. "What I hope, and what I hear from some organisations who have come to the country but never had a presence here before, is that some are thinking about continuing and doing longer-term (projects). "The government is saying this will take at least five years to rehabilitate and get back to where we were -- and where we were was not that high a level. So it's really needed and I hope that the organisations and institutions that have these means will start looking at giving Mozambique the help they need. And not only loans -- we don't need more loans."
Eye of the storm - Hunger stalks a shattered nation
One month after Cyclone Idai ravaged Mozambique, Paul Nuki visits devastated communities to find an emerging humanitarian crisis.
Pictures by Simon Townsley
“It’s worse than sickness or hunger. When you are sick you can rest. When you are hungry you can sell something or ask a neighbour. But with this there is nothing you can do. It has taken everything… everything.” Alima Tivane, a 30-year-old mother-of-four from Buzi in central Mozambique, is not exaggerating. Standing on a mound of mud and shattered sticks that was once her home, she is one of more than a million people who have been left destitute by two of the most violent storms ever to hit what was already the world’s tenth poorest nation. Cyclone Idai tore through the heavily populated centre of Mozambique in mid-March, demolishing homes, shredding infrastructure and flooding vast swathes of the country’s most productive farmland. It was followed last week by Cyclone Kenneth, another category three cyclone, which has decimated much of the north. It is the first time two cyclones have struck the southern African nation in a single season and heavy rains were continuing to hamper relief efforts at the time of going to press.
“We are here only because we could hold on,” recalls Tivane, pulling her youngest child close and gesturing towards a nearby tree. “Most of those who died were the old people – the ones who could not move. They were taken by the currents. We cried for them but that was all we could do.”
A woman sits among the debris of destroyed homes in Buzi
The terror of the disaster is eclipsed only by its scale.
The UN estimates that three million people – more than half of whom are children – have been left in need of urgent humanitarian assistance across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. In Mozambique, which took the brunt of the impact, 1.85 million people, including one million children, are in need of medical assistance, shelter and food. Power, transport and communications systems are down across large swathes of the country; thousands of fresh water wells have been contaminated; schools, hospitals and businesses lie in ruins; and an entire season’s crop of cereal lies rotting in the fields.
One of the hardest things to watch is women and small children foraging for rotten husks of maize so they can make a porridge of cornmeal. If they are lucky, they will have a few green beans to add for protein. “It’s not much but the new plants will take three months to grow so we don't have a choice,” says Laurentina Seven who was scouring a sodden field in the central west of the country with her granddaughter Rosa. Her small holding, like thousands of others, has been completely washed away by the floods. “First there was not enough rain and now this. Everyone here is hungry,” she says.
Subsistence farming is crucial to Mozambique’s food security, with over 80 per cent of the population depending on agriculture for their livelihoods, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Over 95 per cent of them are small-scale farmers like Seven. Even before the cyclones, the FAO estimated that 1.78 million people in Mozambique faced “crisis” levels of food insecurity because of a long running drought. Now with an estimated $258 million worth of crops spoiled by floods, the numbers facing hunger are much higher and the situation more acute. In response, the World Food Programme (WFP) has declared a level three emergency, putting it on a par with the war-torn nations of Yemen and South Sudan.
There can be little doubt the country is on its knees. Matheu Léonard, a senior field coordinator for the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) working out of Buzi by torchlight last week, compared living standards in much of Mozambique to those in Haiti. His job is to organise the distribution of kits that provide the basic minimum needed for survival - pots and pans, tarpaulins, hammers and nails, jerry cans, soap. “The floods have not just taken people’s homes and belongings but the tools, crops and seeds they need to survive,” said Léonard. “Getting to people is difficult because they are so dispersed and the roads become impassable when it rains. “It’s an extremely challenging and it will not be quick. We expect to be here for at least two years.”
As the storm that would become Cyclone Idai built up power in the Indian Ocean off Mozambique in early March, warning lights started to flash red in meteorological monitoring stations around the world. It was first picked up by the French national weather service, Météo-France, at a station on Réunion island 100 miles south west of Mauritius on 1 March. Then with wind speeds rising to over 120mph, the American military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii formally designated it a category three tropical cyclone before it first made landfall on March 8. In Mozambique, the authorities were equally judicious. Alerts were issued nationwide through a wide variety of media and in plenty of time. But in a very poor country, rightly loved by almost all who visit for its good humour and optimism, the warnings fell on deaf ears. “There was radio and TV, text messages and even vans driving around saying it was coming but we did nothing,” admitted Luis Inacio, a 24-year-old politics graduate from the port town of Beira. “People said it could not be as bad as the storm in 2000. And if you were in the countryside in a handmade house, what is there that you could do?”
Idai hit Beira with ungodly force on the night of March 14 filling the air with shrapnel as it ripped tin and zinc from the city’s roofs. Telegraph poles and trees were felled like matchsticks and a four-metre storm surge breached the port walls before sweeping inland. “It was terrifying, just terrifying,” said Inacio who was in a third floor apartment with his girlfriend. “I just stood holding on to our window to stop it blowing in. It was stupid but I don’t know what else to do. It don’t stop for four or five hours”. The damage in Beira, already a shabby shadow of the city it was in its colonial heyday, was severe but nothing compared to the carnage Idai wreaked as it headed inland across the country’s central lowlands – its “breadbasket” – towards the Chimanimani mountains on the western border with Zimbabwe.
At a crocodile farm in a heavily populated area of low-lying countryside just north of Beira, 40 men fought throughout the night to keep the larger animals contained as a 50 metre stretch of protective wall collapsed. The Portuguese owner says all 26,000 reptiles (farmed for their skin) are accounted for but as we left a smaller one – measuring perhaps three feet – scuttled across the road in front of our vehicle before disappearing into the undergrowth. Workers claimed that all escaped reptiles had been returned to the damaged crocodile farm near Beira
The destruction was repeated in hundreds of tiny villages and small holdings across the interior where tin roofs give way to traditional thatch. The children in these tiny hamlets are more likely to be stressed and withdrawn - perhaps because of their relative isolation. Several blankly describe their mud-walled homes as having “melted”. Many start to cry every time the sky darkens again. Locals say that while the government warned about the wind – something most viewed as survivable – few foresaw the floods that would follow.
Gilles Van De Wall, a South African whose 60 acre farm in Matarara sits in the shadow of the Chimanimani mountains, was a rare exception. “The storm moved over us and hit the mountains where it just stuck, dumping rain”, said the farmer whose mangoes are sold in M&S and Waitrose. “I called a friend from Zim[babwe] who lives up there and he said it was coming down too fast to measure, so I knew it was coming our way because it had nowhere else to go.” Nonetheless, the sheer volume of water that cascaded down from the highlands before exploding onto the floodplains below still caught Van De Wall by surprise. “We moved the [irrigation] pumps up four metres in the night but when I woke the water was virtually at the door, a full six or seven metres above the river bank and covering hundreds of hectares of land all around. This spot here was just an island,” he said.
A couple of hundred metres from the house, the river is still swollen to nearly three times its normal width a month after the storm. At the edge Van de Wall points up into an overhanging tree where - at about the height of a telegraph pole - the highwater line is marked by thickets of dried grass hanging in its branches. A few miles away workers in JCB diggers are busy pulling giant timbers and other debris from the struts of a bridge that is miraculously still standing over the river Lucite despite taking the full force of the flash floods that swept down from the highlands. Just as in Buzi, where thousands of local people squeezed onto a handful of surviving rooftops when the floods hit, hundreds of villagers around Matarara were forced onto tiny islands of high ground or the branches of trees to escape the water.
For three weeks the mango farm was the centre of local rescue operations, with Van de Wall’s 80 farm workers and others providing a vital humanitarian role. “We started with just a couple of canoes, then a boat and then a helicopter”, he said. “We ferried people to dry land where we could and we fed the others who were cut off until the waters subsided.”
Van de Wall, whose land is still littered with tents marked “UK Aid”, singles out Team Rubicon, a lesser-known UK charity which flies emergency service volunteers into disaster zones, for particular praise. “I think most of them are ex-military,” he said. “They helped a lot of people here. They saved a lot of lives.” The official death toll in Mozambique in the wake of both cyclones stands at about 650 but it is almost certainly a gross underestimate. Van de Wall says that he and others reliably estimate that 300 died in the villages and smallholdings around them - “an area we know well” and suspects the total death toll for the country as a whole runs into the thousands. Others agree, pointing out that the official figures, although technically accurate, only cover “recorded deaths” - something that requires both a body and a death certificate.
Sara Pereira and her two sons spent three days and nights in a tree after the first cyclone. They saw others die. “In a country like this, where very large numbers of births are not recorded in the first place and where the circumstances of the flooding make the recovery of bodies difficult, we would expect the actual number of dead to be considerably higher than officially recorded,” said a well-placed foreign official who asked not to be named.
Sara Pereira, 25, from Matarara, and her two sons Moises, five, and Dimingo, three, spent three days and nights in a tree in the aftermath of the first cyclone. Although she is upbeat and eager to tell her story, the children are quiet and withdrawn. She says there were roughly 10 people to each tree where they were stranded and they saw several trees uprooted by the force of the water and swept away with people in them. “The current was strong and full of trees and animals”, she said, “I just asked over and over for God to save us”. Pereira said that no one in the trees talked. Everyone was focused on keeping their place and trying not to fall asleep. She tied her two boys to the branches with slings made out of a coloured wrap but they “cried without stopping for three days”.
Hundreds of schools have been damaged, many losing their roofs. In Buzi the story was the same, albeit with a more urban twist. As the flood waters rose three days after the cyclone had passed, thousands scrambled onto a dozen or so concrete buildings with an upper floor or roof high enough to escape the water. Off the main road and juxtaposed amidst hundreds of broken down shacks is the town’s only three storey “luxury villa” – a brand-new entrepreneurial folly but one that saved hundreds. Amina Carimo, 17, and her family squeezed onto its roof where they remained for a week. “There was no food or water except what we could fish from the water, bananas and coconuts, and after a few days everyone started getting very sick,” said Carimo. “I was scared but it was worse for the people with no families. There was an old man who was dying but he wanted to die in his home. Some others took him to the church in a small boat and he died there. There were others who were just taken by the water.”
Seven weeks on from the first floods and with Cyclone Kenneth still wreaking havoc in the north, the rebuilding of Mozambique has hardly started. Cate Turton, who has headed up the UK Department for International Development’s (Dfid) Mozambique office since 2016, says that the initial international response was “well coordinated” and “one of the fastest and most effective” she has seen. She is just back from the airport at Beira where a special hydraulic lift flown in by Dfid has allowed the huge volumes of food, seeds, tools and medical equipment to be unloaded from cargo jets and transferred to domestic trucks and helicopters with minimum fuss. “All the major NGOs and international agencies - plus several smaller ones - have pulled their weight and worked well together in difficult circumstances,” said Turton. “The cholera response was the one of quickest ever and the distribution of emergency food supplies by the International Red Cross, WFP and others has been excellent.”
Power lines are down across the country and in many places will not be repaired for months
In a country with such a young population (44 per cent is under 14) Save the Children was also quick to deploy. It has created safe play spaces within the many temporary camps that have sprung up across the country. It is also helping in schools and providing emergency health care for mothers and children in Biera and some of the harder to reach rural regions. Rachel Pounds, head of the charity’s emergency health unit, said that while the initial response from the British public was strong, more money will be needed in the coming months and years to keep people from going hungry. “Already we are seeing babies at two months with malnutrition and what is worrying me most is the risk to children under five in the months ahead from a food security perspective. This is a country which started with very little and the storms have taken nearly everything that people had,” she said.
The most notable gap in the response is that of the Mozambican authorities and the desperate need to start rebuilding the country’s shattered housing and infrastructure. **The army has received some support from China in recent years but consists of just 10,000 troops. Its capacity to help with reconstruction has been further limited by a series of savage attacks on isolated villages in the far north of the country, thought to be linked to Islamic extremism.
Yesterday (Wednesday) more rain was expected in the north and rivers were expected to flood, hampering aid efforts and further swamping the region. Several of the worst-hit communities remain cut off with limited supplies. “The short-, mid- and long-term availability of food is worrisome,” said senior WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel in Geneva.
Back in Buzi, Mateus Zacarias, a 39-year-old farmer with a wife and two children, is stripped to the waste slashing at the grass with a machete in a flooded rice field. It’s exhausting work – and dangerous, given that a local makeshift hospital is reporting dozens of people, mostly children, coming in with bites from displaced snakes. “The grass has grown up too strong and is suffocating the rice,” he explains, “I’m not optimistic but if I cut it back maybe it will come back. We need the food.”
“The Telegraph” story is well worth looking at for the many pictures alone – some serious top-notch photo-journalism.
Cholera outbreak declared in cyclone-hit northern Mozambique
May 3, 2019 / 5:28 AM / Updated 5 hours ago
A man ferries residents through a flooded road in the aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth in Pemba, Mozambique, April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Officials declared a cholera outbreak in northern Mozambique on Thursday, a week after cyclone winds, floods and heavy rains hit the area. Cyclone Kenneth crashed into the province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday last week, flattening entire villages with winds of up to 280 kph (174 mph) and killing at least 41 people.
Fourteen cases of cholera have been detected, 11 of which are in the port town of Pemba and three in the district of Mecufi, the provincial health director, Anastacia Lidimba, told local television station STV. … The World Health Organization said earlier at least 188,676 people were in need of health assistance or were at risk of disease with 17 health facilities damaged and the number expected to increase as inaccessible areas open up.
This is the first time on record that two powerful storms had hit the southern African country in such a short space of time wrecking homes, flattening villages and destroying crops.
There is currently an early indication of potentially serious flooding within northern Tanzania, due to convergence and a low forming within it, from mid next week:
At the moment Mozambique is fairly clear of rainfall and should more-or-less remain so.
21 000 displaced after second cyclone in Mozambique
Africa / 4 May 2019, 08:36am / dpa correspondents
A family is seen outside their house which got damaged by Cyclone Kenneth in Ibo island north of Pemba city in Mozambique. Picture: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP
Maputo - Cyclone Kenneth has displaced around 21,000 people since it hit last week causing "unspeakable" damage, the International Organization for Migration said Friday. More than 40 people were killed after Cyclone Kenneth made landfall causing heavy flooding. It was the second major storm to hit the Southern African country in about a month.
"The damage caused by Cyclone Kenneth is unspeakable," said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Katharina Schnoering. "The area is heavily affected; thousands of families are displaced with their homes and livelihoods destroyed." The IOM statement said around 21,000 people in northern Mozambique had been displaced and were either living in accommodation centres or staying with host families.
"When the cyclone first hit, in the heavy rain and wind, the entire settlement around our house started to slide away. We ran for our lives. Everything that we had, our home and belongings are gone, all gone," the IOM quoted one displaced woman, Maria Semao, as saying. The government of Mozambique says about 200,000 people in total have been affected by the latest cyclone. The IOM has been delivering shelter kits to those left homeless.
Also on Friday, the World Bank announced it was releasing some 700 million dollars to help the three Idai-hit nations. "Together, total World Bank support to the three countries' recovery reaches around 700 million dollars," the body said in a statement. Gemma Connell, the head of the UN's regional humanitarian response, said she expected a high likelihood of food insecurity in the coming months, as those affected are among the poorest people in Mozambique and the world.
In coastal communities where people rely on fishing as their livelihood, some are using mosquito nets to catch fish as their equipment has been destroyed, she said. "This will be a long recovery," Connell said, speaking to reporters in New York via phone link. …
Persistent indication of significant flooding rain for northern and central Tanzania from about Friday.
“My children are still scared. They don’t want to go back home”
6th May 2019
A mother narrates Cyclone Kenneth ordeal
By Joseph Scott, Mozambique
Zena Momade moved into a temporary shelter after Cyclone Kenneth destroyed her house. The day before Cyclone Kenneth hit Pemba district in Mozambique, Zena Momade and her family crowded around had crowded around the radio to get information on the impending disaster. According to Zena, who lives in Chibwabwari- an area along the Pemba coastline, many in her community were all convinced that information about the cyclone Kenneth was not true. And they can be forgiven for having not taken the news seriously. This was the first time in modern history for Mozambique to experience two cyclones in one season.
“It was unthinkable to ever imagine that a cyclone would hit our area,” she says. “But we found out the truth in a hard way.” Zena says on Wednesday, a day before the cyclone made landfall, the weather was fine. The kids were playing on the beaches that span the length of the coastline and fishermen were busy hauling their catch for the day.
Not a myth anymore
Things started changing the next day. Ghastly winds attacked the coastline and a drizzle that soon developed into thunderstorms warned them that the news about the cyclone was real. “The sky became very dark and everyone knew that the cyclone we heard on the radio was here. All of a sudden, we had heavy downpours and strong winds that lifted large waves in the ocean. It was a scary sight,” says Zena. “The waves were like a giant fish swallowing anything on its path. All the boats at the shore were washed away. In no time, the place was heavily flooded, and all houses close to the shoreline were also washed away,” she recalls.
Zena, a mother of three says she will never forget the look on the face of her children during the storm. She says they were all trembling as they had never seen such a frightening spectacle in their lives. Her eldest daughter, who is 10, broke down into tears as wind tore through their house. “I was helpless,” she says. “My husband was at work and I had to move the kids all alone to a safe place. Fortunately, we got into one of the buses that service our route and escaped to Pemba town.”
A place far away from home
Zena and many families made it safe into Pemba and they were accommodated at one of the temporary shelters provided by government in the city. Life has not been easy for Zena and other families staying at the shelter as they feel it’s too crowded. The centre is hosting 1,528 people and 805 are children. “There is no privacy here,” she says. “There are as many as 15 families sleeping in one hall.” Food is also a problem, she says. Many families didn’t manage to rescue their food reserves and now they rely on the communal meal that is offered once every day. And it’s usually rice and beans, nothing else. “The food is not enough. We could have at least wanted a change in diet but we don’t have control over that,” she says.
Plans for returning home
Since the cyclone destroyed their home, Zena’s husband has visited the place twice to clear the debris so that they can rebuild again. But Zena thinks the place is not good for raising their children as it is too dangerous. “Yes, it’s our land but I think we should move to another place,” she says. “The kids are still scared and they are always telling me that they don’t want to go back. They fear that the cyclone will come back again.”
Cyclone Kenneth: Militant attacks in Mozambique kill seven, threaten voter registration
Published: 03:48 AEST, 7 May 2019 | Updated: 03:48 AEST, 7 May 2019
Suspected militant attacks in Mozambique have been hindering aid delivery to victims of Cyclone Kenneth, which killed 41 people
Suspected Islamists have killed seven people in northern Mozambique in weekend attacks, threatening aid to victims of Cyclone Kenneth and paralysing ongoing voter registration for October elections, local sources said on Monday. Islamist fighters have terrorised remote communities in Mozambique's gas-rich, Muslim-majority Cabo Delgado region since October 2017, killing around 200 people and forcing thousands from their homes.
Between Friday and Sunday at least four separate villages were attacked in northern Cabo Delgado, local sources said. "Armed men invaded the district of Meluco, specifically the village of Minhanha, killed three people, and burned about 100 houses on Sunday night," a local source, who did not want to be identified fearing retaliation, told AFP. Sunday's attack followed another on Saturday that killed a teacher riding a motorcycle and three other people who were burned to death in Macomia district.
The attacks were the first since Cyclone Kenneth smashed into the country's northern region on April 25, leaving at least 41 dead and more than 240,000 affected. The delivery of aid to cyclone-hit areas has been underway, but the attacks put aid distribution at risk while they "paralysed" voter registration. "Insurgents invaded the villages of Iba and Ipho, in the district of Macomia," Magda Mendonca from the Public Integrity Center, an anti-corruption NGO that is also an election observer, told AFP. Mendonca said the attackers "plundered property without causing human casualties," but added they "paralysed an ongoing voter registration."
"The successive attacks are disturbing the voter registration process in the region," Mendonca said. General elections are scheduled for October 15. On Friday, suspected Islamists also attacked another registration centre in the city of Nacate, also in the Macomia district. According to local sources, "the gunmen vandalised equipment without causing human casualties." Macomia was hit by the second cyclone to strike Mozambique in six weeks, after Cyclone Idai which killed more than 600 in the central parts of the country.
The possibility of more heavy rain persists for northern and central Tanzania and possibly more rain in NE Mozambique later in the week too.