Cyclone Kenneth struck Mozambique April 25-26, 2019, just five weeks after Cyclone Idai caused large scale devastation and loss of life. In response to this latest disaster Mission Aviation Fellowship again mobilized staff from its Nampula base (the largest city in northeastern Mozambique) to assist, along with staff from the MAF Disaster Response Team. On 27 April, MAF delivered a load of rice, sugar and candles to the island of Ibo, which was hard-hit by the cyclone. More than 160,000 people have been affected in the largely rural region, many left exposed and hungry.
MAF has a permanent operation in Mozambique with two aircraft. They are working with the country's national institute for disaster management and non-government organizations to coordinate rescue and relief efforts. Nour Hemici of WPF collaborated with Dave Holmes and Rick Emenaker of MAF to strategise a disaster response.
Kenneth roared in Thursday evening with the force of a Category 4 hurricane, stunning residents of a region where such a storm had not been recorded in the modern era. By Monday authorities have said at least 38 people died, but as always in situations like this, gathering accurate information is a huge challenge.
In Pemba (one of the hardest hit cities, located in the north) some residents tried to pile up tyres and sandbags outside their homes to keep the rising water out. "Help us, we are losing everything!" residents shouted at passing cars, as the rushing waters flooded their homes. Women and girls with buckets and pots tried to scoop away the torrent. But in vain—the water poured into doorways.
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 possible climate change.
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