Rains Pound Mozambique After Cyclone, Hampering Aid Deliveries

Rains continued to pound northern Mozambique Monday, hampering aid deliveries in the aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth, as the death toll from the storm rose to 38.

Rescuers said they used a brief break in the rain Monday to send one aid helicopter to the island of Ibo, where hundreds of homes were destroyed by the cyclone. They say conditions were too dangerous to allow a second flight to take off.

Cyclone Kenneth hit Mozambique late Thursday with wind gusts up to 220 kilometers per hour (137 mph), the second deadly cyclone to strike the country in six weeks.

Mozambique’s disaster management institute said Monday the death toll, previously at five, had risen as the country braced for more rain.

Claudio Juliaya, an emergency specialist for UNICEF, who is in the northern city of Pemba, told VOA “We have some areas that there is no access by road, it’s much too deep. We cannot reach by road, you can only reach either by plane or by boat.”

A spokeswoman for the U.N. World Food Program, Deborah Nguyen, said “It’s been raining hard since Sunday morning.” She added, “We are very worried because, according to the forecasts, heavy rain is expected for the next four days.”

Mozambique’s national weather service said Monday afternoon that rain would continue in the area for at least the next 24 hours.

The rain is causing floods and landslides, and more rain will add more misery, cutting off roads that aid groups are using to transport urgently needed supplies, including food and medicine.

Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management said Sunday more than 23,000 people have no shelter and nearly 35,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed.

Before reaching Mozambique, Kenneth swept over the island nation of Comoros, killing three people.

On Sunday, the U.N. released $13 million to “provide lifesaving food, shelter, health, water and sanitation assistance to people affected by Tropical Cyclone Kenneth.”

Cyclone Idai smashed into southern Africa in mid-March and killed more than 1,000 people across Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Madagascar.

Juliaya said the new storm is making it harder for aid workers to carry out the recovery efforts from Cyclone Idai.

“It is because most of the supplies that we’re bringing to respond to Kenneth are being moved from Beira, which were already pre-positioned to respond to the Idai situation,” said Juliaya.

Source: Voice of America