Less than a month since Cyclone Idai hit parts of the ECSA region and caused wide range destruction, on 23 April, another Tropical Cyclone Kenneth formed north of Madagascar and east of the Aldabra Atoll, north of the Mozambique Channel. Its path was expected to pass over the northern tip of the Comoros islands on 24 April and continue onward to northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania. It was anticipated to make landfall in the district of Palma in Mozambique on 25 April. The Global Disaster Alert Coordination System (GDACS) issued an orange alert for the Cyclone, meaning a medium humanitarian impact was expected based on the storm strength and forecasted path.
In Mozambique, more than 747,000 people were said to be living within the Cyclone’s path, mainly in Cabo Delgado Province, including a projected 117,000 living in high wind speed zones.
On the evening of 25 April, Tropical Cyclone Kenneth made landfall between the districts of Macomia and Mocimboa da Praia. Although preliminary information on impact is still incoming, the storm’s cyclonic winds were expected to reach 180 kilometres per hour prior to landfall, according to the Mozambique National Institute for Meteorology (INM). The Cyclone was forecasted to bring heavy rains, with over 500mm of rainfall expected from 24 to 30 April, and more than 750mm possible in some locations in Cabo Delgado. As the storm came at the end of the rainy season, river levels were already high, and several rivers were projected to increase beyond the severe alert threshold after landfall, with peak flows most likely to occur on 29 April in the region around Pemba (Mozambique). There was a high risk of flash flooding and landslides.
Red Cross teams in northern Mozambique reported serious damage in towns and communities that bore the brunt of Cyclone Kenneth overnight. Kenneth made landfall with wind speeds of up to 231 km per hour – almost the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane. Initial reports from Quissanga indicated extensive damage to houses, while communication with Macomia and Muidumbe remained down.
Our thoughts at the CVA are with all those affected.