Floods destroy homes, trap families in cyclone-hit Mozambique

Winds eased on Friday, but France's meteorological agency said up to 800mm of rain was expected to land on Mozambique over the coming days - almost double the 10-day accumulated rainfall that flooded the port city of Beira during Cyclone Idai. Residents of one poor neighbourhood dug for bodies on Monday after two houses were crushed by the collapse of a sprawling dumpsite overnight, resident Manuel Joachim said. Rescue efforts are underway to help people trapped by rising floodwater in the country's northern region.

The tweet by the agency says that "we are unfortunately expecting devastating floods".

The people of Pemba scrambled to protect their homes yesterday as torrential rainfall after Cyclone Kenneth triggered massive flooding in the second disaster to hit Mozambique in six weeks.

"We are deeply anxious 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, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) deputy representative in Mozambique.

The storm slammed into the province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday, killing five people.

A child drinks water from a gutter during floods due to heavy rains in Pemba, Mozambique, Sunday, April 28, 2019.

Hundreds of thousands of people were at risk with more rain forecast for days ahead.

As water levels rose, Mozambican authorities asked residents of Mecufi and Chiure districts and parts of Macomia and Muidumbe districts to immediately seek higher ground.

The new storm's remnants could dump twice as much rain as Idai, the UN World Programme has said.

Aerial photos Saturday showed several coastal communities flattened by the storm in northernmost Cabo Delgado province. Up to 100 millimeters (nearly 4 inches) were forecast in the next 24 hours for some parts of the region, according to Mozambique's meteorological institute.

Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) spokesman Saviano Abreu said the situation in the towns of Macomia and Quissanga was critical, adding that there were also worries for the cut-off island of Ibo.

The cyclone has damaged or destroyed 3,000 homes while about 18,000 people were housed in emergency shelters. This was 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.

  • Tracy Klein