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First death as Cyclone Kenneth hits Mozambique

29 April 2019

While the region that took the brunt of this cyclone is more sparsely populated than the area that took a hit from Idai last month, Mozambique's disaster management agency has said almost 700,000 people could be at risk. Kenneth came just six weeks after Cyclone Idai ripped into central Mozambique and killed more than 600 people.

On Wednesday, Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) predicted that the cyclone would affect Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma regions and some parts of Mozambique.

Surpassing both Idai and the 2000 Cyclone Eline that had been the strongest to date, Cyclone Kenneth hit Cabo Delgado province with wind speeds of 140mph (225km/h), bringing the threat of extreme rainfall.

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

However, forecasters warned of a heightened risk of flood since the cyclone was going slowly.

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Authorities have said at least five people died after the cyclone arrived Thursday evening with the force of a Category 4 hurricane, stunning residents of a region where a cyclone had not been recorded in the modern era. Low-lying Mozambique's 2,400-kilometer (1,500-mile) Indian Ocean coastline makes the country one of the world's most vulnerable to global warming's rising waters.

"Kenneth remains an extremely unsafe system which is now severely impacting regions to the north of Pemba", the center's latest cyclone report said.

The highest wind speed of the cyclone dropped quickly overnight after landing and weakened since 140 miles per hour to 85 miles per hour, in accordance with the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as it moved north of Pemba, the provincial capital, into more sparsely populated districts.

Powerful Cyclone Kenneth lashed the southeast African nation of Mozambique Friday, where millions are still recovering from the last major storm that wrought havoc last month.

The United Nations has warned that Kenneth could dump twice as much rain on Northern Mozambique as Idai which is a recipe for disaster in a region prone to flooding and mudslides.

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The Cyclone flattened homes on Mozambique's north coast killing five in a region already devastated by Cyclone Idai.

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.

Aid workers said some areas, such as Mocimboa de Praia in the north, were also a concern as there had been little communication with them.

Reports by BBC show the winds blew away some weak houses and the provincial capital of Pemba had lost its power supply.

Cabo Delgado province is not as densely populated as the area hit by Cyclone Idai, and there is apparently more high ground there.

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Cyclone Kenneth, which smashed into northern Mozambique late on April 25, hit "an area where no tropical cyclone has been observed since the satellite era", the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a statement.

First death as Cyclone Kenneth hits Mozambique