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UN gives $13 million as second cyclone pounds Mozambique

Mike Hutchings, REUTERS | A group of men wade through floodwaters as rain falls in the aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth in Pemba, Mozambique, on April 28, 2019.

The United Nations has said it will grant Mozambique $13 million in emergency funds to help cope with the massive flooding and destruction caused by Cyclone Kenneth, the second tropical storm to hit the country within weeks.

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Cyclone Kenneth crashed into the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday just as the country was recovering from Cyclone Idai that hit further south last month.

Weather experts are warning that Kenneth could dump twice as much rain on northern Mozambique as Idai did. It has already killed 38 people as it unleashed heavy rains and flooding that has seen rivers burst their banks and smash whole villages, the Disaster Management Institute said.

An estimated 160,000 people are at risk, with more torrential rain forecast in the coming days, officials have warned.

Aid struggling to reach remote communities, says Red Cross spokesman

On Sunday, the UN said it would grant $13 million in emergency funds to help provide food and water and repair damage to infrastructure.

"This new allocation of Central Emergency Response Fund funds will help humanitarian partners to scale up the response to address the needs of those most vulnerable in the aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth", said UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock in a statement.

Earlier in April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) granted the southern African nation a $118.2 million credit facility, with the World Bank estimating that Mozambique and other countries affected by the tropical storm will need over $2 billion to recover.

Deadly mudslides

Mozambique officials have described flooding from the new cyclone as "critical" in parts of Cabo Delgado province such as the towns of Ibo, Macomia and Quissanga, where many buildings and homes have been destroyed.

As soon as the rains lift aid distribution will begin Monday via helicopter and boats in Ibo and Quissanga, said officials, noting that roads have been rendered impassable by the heavy rains. Canoes may be used to deliver aid in Macomia, they added.

Safe drinking water is also becoming a challenge as wells have been contaminated, raising the threat of cholera. Malaria is another concern.

The prolonged heavy rains in Pemba, the provincial capital and an historic port city, caused deadly mudslides. As the rains eased Monday, residents of a poor neighbourhood were digging for bodies.

Two houses were crushed by the collapse of a sprawling dumpsite that hit just after midnight when rains poured, local resident Manuel Joachim told the Associated Press.

"We have pulled out one body only, maybe we can find the other five," he added.

In other parts of Pemba, some tried to return to a semblance of daily life amid the destruction.

At a school in one suburb, school children in blue uniforms trooped into classes. In central Pemba, traders put their wares on street pavements and wooden tables while others were busy removing rubble from their homes and yards.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)

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