One dead as Cyclone Kenneth pummels Mozambique

World Food Programme shows a destroyed house in Macomia district, Mozambique. 

This handout picture provided on April 26, 2019 by the World Food Programme shows a destroyed house in Macomia district, Mozambique. 


BEIRA - A powerful cyclone pounded northern Mozambique on Friday, leaving one person dead and wrecking homes and communications, barely a month after the country was hit by one of the worst storms in its history.

Cyclone Kenneth, a Category Three storm on the hurricane scale, made landfall in Cabo Delgado province late on Thursday after swiping the Comoros islands.

By mid-Friday, its peak winds of 160 kilometres an hour had fallen back to about 70 kph, according to the national meteorological institute.

But heavy rains were forecast over the next 24 hours, fuelling the risks of floods and mudslides in the poor region.

READ: 30,000 people evacuated in Mozambique amid cyclone Kenneth

Mozambique's emergency agency, the INGC, reported a death caused by a falling coconut tree in the port city of Pemba, Cabo

Delgado's provincial capital, along with severe flooding, mudslides and widespread power outages.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reported "heavy damage" and wrecked homes in some coastal towns along the northern coast, while communication lines in Macomia and Muidumbe remain down.

In many affected communities, areas "are prone to flooding and landslides in normal rainfall, and this is far from a normal situation," it warned.


On the tourist island of Ibo, home to 6,000 people, 90 percent of homes had been flattened, according to a spokesman for the INGC, Antonio Beleza.

"It looks like the island has been bombed... It is biblical," said a South African tour operator and owner of a hotel on Ibo, Kevin Record.

WATCH: Cyclone Kenneth hits Comoros, heads for Mozambique

Communities in central Mozambique are still reeling from Cyclone Idai, which hit on the night of March 14-15, causing killer floods that swept away homes, roads and bridges.

The storm also smashed into Zimbabwe and Malawi. In the three countries, more than a thousand lives were lost, and damage is estimated at around $2-billion (R28.8-billion).

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday said Kenneth was expected to dump over 600 millimetres of rain over the next few days in some areas.

By way of comparison, this would be nearly double the amount that fell on the central city of Beira during Cyclone Idai - a downpour that turned parts of the region into an inland sea.