'We are losing everything': Flooding in cyclone-hit Mozambique
Rescuers raced to help people caught in fast rising floodwaters in Mozambique’s cyclone hit city of Pemba on Sunday, as houses collapsed in one neighbourhood and heavy rain raised fears of worse to come.
More than 160,000 people have been affected in the largely rural region, with many already exposed and hungry.
Residents from the Northern City shouted at passing cars “Help us, we are losing everything!” as the the rushing water flooded their homes. Women and girls with buckets and pots tried to scoop away the torrent. But in vain - the water poured into doorways.
In Natite, the worst-affected neighbourhood, the United Nation’s Humanitarian Agency (OCHA) reported that homes have begun to collapse.
Cyclone Kenneth arrived just six weeks after Cyclone Idai ripped into central Mozambique and killed more than 600 people with flooding. The new storm’s remnants could dump twice as much rain as Idai, the UN said.
As much as 250mm, or about one-quarter of the average annual rainfall for the region, has been forecast over the next few days.
This is the first time in recorded history that the southern African nation has been hit by two cyclones in one season, again raising concerns about climate change.
Rescue workers have evacuated at least 130 people to centres elsewhere in the city on Sunday, mostly by boat, said Salviano Abreu, spokesperson got OCHA.
According to Unicef an additional 368 000 children in Mozambique are now at risk and potentially in need of lifesaving humanitarian support.
“Cabo Delgado has no history of cyclones and we are deeply worried that communities in the area would not have been prepared for the scale of the storm, putting children and families in a very precarious position,” said Michel Le Pechoux, Unicef Deputy Representative in Mozambique.
Some Pemba residents tried to pile up tyres and sand filled sacks outside their homes to keep the rising water out, while elsewhere small, rapid rivers formed, carving trenches into the streets.
Children took refuge in a bus that appeared stuck as vehicles struggled on the streets. One woman stood, seemingly stunned, as the rain pounded down.
More than 35,000 homes in parts of Mozambique’s Northernmost Cabo Delgado were partially or fully destroyed in the storm.
The United Nations will grant Mozambique and the Comoros Islands $13 million in emergency funds to help provide food and water and repair damage to infrastructure, the organisation said late on Sunday, after the second cyclone in a month slammed into into the region.
The World Bank estimates Mozambique and other countries affected by the tropical storm will need over $2 Billion to recover.