Still recovering from Cyclone Idai in March, Mozambique is faced with yet another huge storm – Cyclone Kenneth – that has left some 38 people dead and nearly 35,000 homes destroyed. This is according to the country’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC).
In one of the most deadly climate-related disasters to hit the southern hemisphere, Cyclone Idai killed over a thousand people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe last month, leaving some three million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
However, the ongoing disaster in the southern African country has only complicated matters and is preventing aid workers from reaching the worst-affected areas in the region. Torrential rains continue to devastate roads and flights have been forcefully grounded as well.
The flood risk was compounded by Cyclone Kenneth hitting when river levels were already high at the end of the rainy season, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revealed. As a result, humanitarian needs “have skyrocketed, and the humanitarian response will need to rapidly scale up.”
The UN has been supplying aid to displaced persons from the first disaster but a report from Human Rights Watch disclosed that survivors of Cyclone Idai were being forced to have sex with community leaders for food. In response, the international development body has pledged to investigate the allegations as it continues to give out rations to stranded people through the World Food Programme. Albeit, destroyed roads have forced operations to end in the most isolated areas.
OCHA Spokesman, Saviano Abreu, said that the situation in some northern towns was critical, while there were also worries for the cut-off island of Ibo but attempts to reach those areas had not been entirely successful.
“We managed to send one flight with World Food Programme (WFP) supplies of rice and biscuits, and some non-food items. But unfortunately, the weather conditions are changing too fast and threatening the operation. It’s raining again and the second flight couldn’t go,” Abreu explained.
The situation in northern Mozambique is worse than thought, a UN spokesman said with around 700,000 people now thought to be at risk as the cyclone rages on.
Cyclone Kenneth struck the nation last week, flattening villages and damaging thousands of homes. Although, reports say the storm has lost its strength, but torrential rain was still battering the area as of Monday.
More rains and waves are expected, however. “We are very worried because, according to the forecasts, heavy rain is expected for the next four days,” United Nations World Food Programme spokeswoman, Deborah Nguyen said, adding that the rainfall is expected to be twice as much as that which accompanied Cyclone Idai.