'Incredibly difficult' to reach Mozambique cyclone survivors

2019-04-30 10:29
A girl stands next to her belongings in the Paquite district of Pemba as Cyclone Kenneth hit northern Mozambique. (Emidio Jozine, AFP)

A girl stands next to her belongings in the Paquite district of Pemba as Cyclone Kenneth hit northern Mozambique. (Emidio Jozine, AFP)

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Rains were still pounding northern Mozambique on Tuesday, several days after Cyclone Kenneth, while the United Nations said aid workers face "an incredibly difficult situation" in reaching thousands of survivors.

UN humanitarian spokeswoman Gemma Connell said bad weather kept badly needed supplies from arriving in the main city of Pemba on Monday. This will be a challenge in the rainy days ahead, she told The Associated Press.

The government again urged Pemba residents to flee to higher ground.

The death toll is 38 after Kenneth made landfall on Thursday, just six weeks after Cyclone Idai tore into central Mozambique. This is the first time two cyclones have struck the southern African nation in a single season.

Scores of thousands of people in Macomia and Quissanga districts north of Pemba and on Ibo island need food and shelter. More than 35 000 buildings and homes were partly or fully destroyed, the government said.

"These people lost everything," Connell said. "It is critical that we get them the food that they need to survive." Women and children have been the hardest hit "without the basics that they need to get by", especially shelter, she said.

Mozambique's national weather service on Monday forecast said the northeastern region will continue to receive moderate to strong rains, dropping more than 50mm over the next 24 hours.

Authorities were preparing for a possible cholera outbreak as some wells were contaminated and safe drinking water became a growing concern.

With the pair of deadly cyclones – Idai killed more than 600 people last month – Mozambique has become "a very complex humanitarian situation", Connell said. Only a quarter of the funding needed for Idai relief efforts has come in while funding for Kenneth has been slow.

"This is a new crisis," she said. "We are having to stretch across the two operations. That is a basic reality we are dealing with every day."

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Read more on:    mozambique  |  southern africa
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