Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Cyclone Kenneth: 'Relentless Rain' Hampers Mozambique Relief Effort
Around 35,000 homes have been destroyed by the storm, the second natural disaster in the African country in the last six weeks.

By John Sparks, Africa correspondent
Tuesday 30 April 2019 21:52, UK

Mozambique hit by a period of extreme weather

Extreme weather is lingering over Mozambique, bringing misery and frustration to the population.

In the city of Pemba, the rain is absolutely relentless.

Wherever we drove and walked and waded, we were accompanied by the slow-moving weather system that has thrown a saturated blanket across northern Mozambique.

This mighty storm has turned city streets into torrents, and streams into Olympic-sized swimming pools and the urban floodwater has proven perilous for those who live here.

The number of dead stands at 41, with bodies being dragged from mudslides and the rubble of collapsed buildings - and the number of fatalities is expected to rise.

The government thinks 160,000 people have been affected, with many here struggling to get by without food, shelter and clean water.

Members of a number of aid agencies told us they were also struggling - stretched by what is the second natural disaster to hammer this country in the past six weeks and grappling with the rain.

Organisations like the World Food Programme (WFP) cannot run its helicopters in this weather.

They cannot reach people like the residents of Ibo island, who have been denied basic necessities since Cyclone Kenneth hit the coast last Thursday.

Aid agencies say they are struggling to reach people in remote areas

The WFP's spokesperson Deborah Nguyen said: "It is very frustrating because we have everything ready.

"We know that people need this food and we cannot bring it, so it is very frustrating for us."

We trudged into a low-lying neighbourhood called Titi, alongside a creek which used to be the community's main street.

The unofficial waterway has been created by five days of torrential rain.

It was clear to us that everybody in Titi has suffered with one resident claiming he was the victim of an urban tsunami.

"It was really devastating rain," said Jacinto Mateus.

"It flattened the wall of the stadium and then the water flowed down here. It has destroyed so many houses in our neighbourhood."

First, Cyclone Kenneth took the roofs off the dwellings in this neighbourhood.

Then the floodwaters worked their way into the walls and the battered buildings we witnessed make up just a few of the 35,000 partially or fully destroyed homes across the province.

The government has advised people in Titi to move to higher ground, but we discovered that residents were looking for something else from leaders.

A man called Ayuba Mukape told me: "What is happening here is that we are not receiving any aid, nothing, at least nothing in this neighbourhood.

"No one from the authorities or the community leaders have come here to see us. We are on our own."

The people of Titi are feeling angry and uncomfortable in the knowledge that normality in their community has been swept away.

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