With Mozambique and Comoros battling heavy rains and raging flood waters in the wake of Cyclone Kenneth – the second major storm to hit southern Africa in the past six weeks – the United Nations and its humanitarian partners are supporting national authorities in assessing needs and providing help.
UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on Sunday that Secretary-General António Guterres is appealing to the international community for additional resources, critically needed to fund the response to the twin tragedies in the immediate, medium- and longer-term.
“The Secretary-General is deeply saddened at reports of loss of lives and destruction in Mozambique and Comoros as a result of tropical cyclone Kenneth, six weeks after Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe,” the Spokesman said in a statement.
The UN chief also extended his condolences and solidarity to the families of the victims and to the governments and peoples of Mozambique and Comoros.
In a flash update earlier Sunday, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said the cyclone, with powerful winds that ripped the roofs off homes, caused the death of at least five people in Mozambique’s Pemba city, Macomia district and on Ibo Island, according to Government reports.
Some 3,500 homes in Comoros have been totally or partially destroyed and there are reports of electrical outages, road blockages and at least one bridge collapse, according to WFP.
The UN and its partners have been in the region since late March, after Cyclone Idaimade landfall near Beira City in central Mozambique. The long-lived cyclonecontinued across land as a Tropical Storm and hit eastern Zimbabwe, southeastern Malawi and parts of Madagascar with heavy rains and strong winds.
Last Friday, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock lamented that Cyclone Idai had devastated central Mozambique, killing more than 600 people, unleashing a cholera epidemic, wiping out crops in the country’s breadbasket, forcing a million people to rely on food assistance to survive, and causing massive destruction of homes, schools and infrastructure in one of the world’s poorest countries.
He stressed that Cyclone Kenneth marks the first time two cyclones have made landfall in Mozambique during the same season, further stressing the Government’s limited resources. Malawi and Zimbabwe are also expected to experience heavy rains and flooding caused by Cyclone Kenneth.
“Cyclone Kenneth may require a major new humanitarian operation at the same time that the ongoing Cyclone Idai response targeting three million people in three countries remains critically underfunded,” said Mr. Lowcock, adding: “The families whose lives have been turned upside down by these climate-related disasters urgently need the generosity of the international community to survive over the coming months.”