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Integral Responding in Mozambique – Update

Mozambique has been struck by a second large cyclone. Cyclone Kenneth, the strongest ever to strike the country, hit the northern coast on 25 April 2019, less than six weeks after cyclone Idai had brought devastation to Mozambique’s central provinces on 14 March. Eighteen Integral Members are currently responding to Cyclone Idai …

Photo: Paola Barioli, Medair 2019.
Jose Abdul, 68 years old, in the bairro of Chibabari, in Pemba, northern Mozambique. The bairro, built on the side of a hill that houses the largest city dump, has been severely affected by floods and landsides that followed Cyclone Kenneth. 

Currently, two Integral Members have been doing assessments on the impact of Cyclone Kenneth – Medair and Food for the Hungry. There are predictions that the tail end of this cyclone will bring twice as much rain as Idai did, so the impact of the winds and initial storm will be significantly worsened in coming days.

Paola Barioli, Medair’s Emergency Communication Officer, reports from Mozambique, “The hours following Kenneth’s passage were confused, just like those that followed Idai. Communication lines were down and access to the affected areas was made impossible by the collapse of infrastructure. It took a few days before the first information on the impact of the disaster was made public. Immediately after the cyclone, several humanitarian organisations present in Beira for the response to the previous cyclone began to reposition their staff and materials to the north. Medair sent a team to Pemba, the capital of the province of Capo Delgado.”

She continues, “A first assessment of the city of Pemba confirms what had emerged from the first reports: in Pemba, and unlike the northern coastal areas, the cyclone winds caused only minor damage. But the intense rains that have followed Kenneth threaten the population of this city of more than 200,000 inhabitants … Five days after Kenneth’s passage, the rain has not stopped and the terrible weather conditions are hampering humanitarian aid efforts. According to the first aerial assessments to the north of Pemba, dozens of coastal villages and islands that were in the eye of the cyclone have been completely razed to the ground. Many are still inaccessible by road due to heavy rains and the collapse of bridges and roads. Air operations have been made impossible in the last hours by severe weather conditions. The coming weeks will be crucial for emergency aid to reach people like Jose (pictured) who have seen their lives swept away in a few moments.”