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Heavy rains cause flooding in Mozambique

April 29, 2019

Serious flooding has wreaked havoc in parts of Mozambique, as houses collapsed in many areas. Rescue efforts are underway to help people trapped by rising floodwaters in the country's northern region.

Flooding in Pemba
Image: Getty Images/AFP/Stringer

Heavy rain and flooding in northern Mozambique hampered rescue efforts on Monday, as the death toll from Cyclone Kenneth rose to 38.  

The storm has damaged thousands of homes since making landfall in the southeast African country five days ago.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said many houses have collapsed as a result of rising floodwaters in the northern region's main city, Pemba.

Mozambique's government urged people in flood-hit areas to seek higher ground immediately to minimize the risk of drowning. An estimated 160,000 people were at risk from the cyclone, which is the second to hit the country in six months. 

Read moreWill extreme weather become even deadlier?

Kenneth is expected to drop more rain than Cyclone Idai, which tore through the region in late March — potentially twice as much. 

 According to figures announced by the government on Monday, at least 38 people died as a result of the current storm — up from an earlier estimate of five. Nearly 35,000 homes have been either partly or completely destroyed. 

Aid organizations have described "total devastation," raising concerns that residents in inundated communities will be left exposed and hungry as waters rise.

Further heavy rain is forecast over the next several days.

Rescue efforts

"It is now raining heavily in Pemba, Cabo Delgado, and some parts of the city are already flooded," said Saviano Abreu, spokesman for OCHA.

"We are unfortunately expecting devastating floods here in Pemba. A search-and-rescue team is being mobilized," Abreu added.

Cyclone Kenneth arrived on Thursday, just six weeks after Cyclone Idai battered central Mozambique and killed more than 600 people.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said there was no previous record of two storms of such intensity striking Mozambique in the same season.

shs, rc/aw (Reuters, dpa)

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