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Mozambique Hit with the Strongest Cyclone in its History

At least three million people were left in need of humanitarian assistance in northern Mozambique as cyclone Kenneth hit the region, within one-month cyclone Idai caused hundreds of deaths and devastation in the region.

The cyclone has brought 220km/h (140mph) winds and has already killed three people on the island nation of Comoros.

For Mozambique, it marks the first time in known history that the country has been hit by two cyclones in one season, with hundreds of thousands of people set to face extreme hunger as a result.

Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) said 30,000 people had been evacuated from areas likely to be hit and local schools are being used as shelters.

Kenneth could also make its presence part in the south of Tanzania, where coastal residents have been told to flee their homes, and winds have already reached a whopping 136mph.

The United Nations described it as “one of the deadliest storms on record in the southern hemisphere” – wiped outcrops on the eve of harvest, and Kenneth will further complicate efforts to recover.

“Residents along the Mozambique/Tanzania border should make preparations for storm surge along the coasts, heavy rainfall, and hurricane-force winds,” NASA warned.

Two severe weather events in quick succession have raised fears about the impact of climate change on coastal areas, with the low-lying Indian Ocean coastline of Mozambique vulnerable to rising waters.

The UN said it was still assessing the full extent of the damage there but is prepared for what could be another large relief operation, as is the Red Cross and other aid organizations.

The UN World Food Programme spokesman Herve Verhoosel said: “Although floodwaters have receded in most areas affected by Cyclone Idai, access is still a challenge as infrastructure was severely compromised.

The National Institute of Disaster Management in Mozambique said it had provided shelters and begun “compulsory evacuation” of families to the shelters.

> Juthy Saha

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