Cyclone Kenneth on Friday barrel-led into the North coast of Mozambique and is expected to bring twice as much rain as another devastating storm that hit the town of Beira in March.
“It is expected to bring as much as 600 millimetres of rain to the area in the next 10 days, twice as much as Beira received in a similar period following Cyclone Idai last month,’’ the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said in a statement.
Kenneth hit Cabo Delgado province, further north than Sofala province, where Beira is, and which bore the brunt in March of Cyclone Idai.
It added that cyclone killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
“The Cabo Delgado districts of Macomia, Mocimboa da Praia, Muidumbe and Palma, where winds are projected to exceed 120 kilometres an hour, are set to be most severely impacted, with some 112,000 people at high risk,’’ WFP said.
The WFP said they have over 1,000 tons of food aid ready to help those affected.
The government of Mozambique began forced evacuations two days before the cyclone was due to hit, with some 30,000 people moved to safer ground and they have opened public buildings such as schools to accommodate displaced.
“WFP is sending a relief helicopter to the area as soon as weather allows,’’ the agency said.
Mark Lowcock, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said wind speeds from Kenneth had reached 270 kilometres an hour, causing “massive flooding.’’
“Cyclone Kenneth may require a major new humanitarian operation at the same time that the ongoing Cyclone Idai response targeting 3 million people in three countries remains critically underfunded,’’ Lowcock said.