Comorians urged to 'stay calm' as Cyclone Kenneth nears

Cyclone Kenneth is heading for northern Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province.

Cyclone Kenneth is heading for northern Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province.

MORONI - Comoros Interior Minister Mohamed "Kiki" Daoudou urged citizens to "stay calm" as a tropical storm heading for the archipelago was upgraded to a cyclone named Kenneth.

"The most important thing is to stay calm and follow the instructions," said the minister following a meeting of the nation's Cosep crisis cell in the capital Moroni.

The Civil Aviation and Meteorology Agency said in a statement it expected the cyclone to strike the island at about 3pm on Thursday but that the effects would begin to be felt a couple of hours earlier.

"Typically cyclones occur in the rainy season which is already over. This cyclone at the end of April is unusual.

"It confirms the increasing intensity and frequency of cyclones in the Indian Ocean," environment ministry expert Youssouf Hamadi told AFP.

READ: Mozambique on high alert for Cyclone Kenneth

As the cyclone neared the archipelago, schools were closed and inter-island hopper flights suspended.

The arrival of the cyclone was preceded by violent winds which caused landslides and flooding and cut off roads, according to Cosep chief Mouigni Daho. There were no reports of injuries, he added.

After Comoros, Kenneth will strike the far-north of Mozambique late Thursday or early Friday, if it stays on its current course, just one month after Cyclone Idai ravaged the country and neighbouring Zimbabwe claiming more than 1,000 lives.