Mozambique cyclone: Death toll rises as storm blocks aid

The death toll in cyclone-hit northern Mozambique has risen to 38, officials say, as aid workers struggle to reach the worst-affected areas.

Cyclone Kenneth struck the southern African nation last week with winds of 220km/h (140mph), flattening villages and damaging thousands more homes.

The storm lost strength, but torrential rain and high winds were still battering the area on Monday.

As a result, flights have been grounded – hindering the aid effort.

It is predicted the weather system will dump twice as much rainfall as Cyclone Ida when it struck last month, leaving more than 900 dead across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

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The flood risk was compounded by Kenneth hitting at the end of the rainy season when river levels were already high, the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) noted.

Already, Pemba, the regional capital of Cabo Delgado state, has experienced more than 2m (6.5ft) of rain and flooding.

According to Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), 38 people have been killed by Cyclone Kenneth, while another 35,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged.

The privately-owned O Pais website reported five people died after part of a rubbish dump collapsed onto homes in Pemba on Sunday evening. It is unclear if these deaths are recorded in the government total.

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Ocha says humanitarian needs “have sky-rocketed, and the humanitarian response will need to rapidly scale-up”.

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