Cyclone Gombe makes landfall in the north-east of Mozambique

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File photo - Mozambique is bracing for a cyclone.
File photo - Mozambique is bracing for a cyclone.
Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Tropical Cyclone Gombe made landfall in northern Mozambique on Friday.
  • The president advised people not to use cellphones in affected areas.
  • Bridges, health facilities and schools could be affected by the destruction.

Tropical Cyclone Gombe has made landfall in Mozambique's north-eastern city of Nampula, bringing winds at a speed of 130km/h and gusts of about 200km/h, according to the country's National Institute of Meteorology (NIM).

The trail of disaster included the destruction of houses and public infrastructure, such as fuel service stations, while trees were also uprooted.

This came despite a televised warning from President Filipe Nyusi that people should "protect the windows, doors and roofs of the houses", as seen in Beira when they were preparing to face Tropical Storm Ana.

The NIM said Gombe reached the coast of Mozambique at around 03:00 local time on Friday.

Nyusi discouraged the public from using cellphones.

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"Please avoid using your cellphones when the phenomenon arrives, as your cellphone may be the cause of an electrical discharge that causes death, and keep the power sources off," he said.

Nampula is the third-largest city in Mozambique, with a population of around 800 000, as per figures from the 2017 census.

The arrival of the cyclone has been anticipated for almost a week. NIM estimated that 77 bridges, 192 health facilities and 2 058 schools in Nampula would be at high risk of being affected.

Save the Children, a charity organisation operating in Mozambique, said, "more than 500 000 people, mostly children, many already in need of humanitarian assistance, could be affected" - if the cyclone reaches its full wrath.

Mozambique Airlines has since stopped inter-city flights, particularly the Maputo-Nampula and Beira-Maputo routes.

Gombe is the second violent storm, in the space of seven weeks, to impact the island after Tropical Storm Ana in January.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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