The death toll from Cyclone Kenneth in northern Mozambique has risen to 38, as flooding and pounding rains hampered efforts to deliver aid to badly hit communities several days after the storm.
An estimated 160,000 people were at risk from the second powerful cyclone to hit the southern African nation in just six weeks, officials said. It was the first time in recorded history that two cyclones had targeted Mozambique in a single season.
Just as most of the 600-plus deaths from last month’s Cyclone Idai were caused by flooding in the days that followed, heavy rains in the wake of Kenneth have raised fears of a similar scenario.
Flooding from the latest cyclone was “critical” in parts of the country’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, including Ibo island and the districts of Macomia and Quissanga, where more than 35,000 buildings and homes had been partially or fully destroyed, the government said.
The rising waters made many roads impassable and hampered air efforts to reach communities outside the region’s main city, Pemba.
Authorities were preparing for a possible cholera outbreak as some wells were contaminated and safe drinking water became a growing concern.
The heavy rains in Pemba caused deadly mudslides. Residents of one neighbourhood dug for bodies on Monday after two houses were crushed by the collapse of a sprawling rubbish dump overnight, resident Manuel Joachim said.
A woman’s body had been found, he said. Five people in all were thought to be buried there.