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  • Children walk near a damaged building in the aftermath of the Cyclone Kenneth in Pemba.

    Children walk near a damaged building in the aftermath of the Cyclone Kenneth in Pemba. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 April 2019

As a precaution, areas that were vulnerable to the storm have been evacuated, totaling some 30,000 people, according to a spokesman for Mozambique's National Institute of Disaster Management.

As Mozambique continues to recover from the effects of a powerful cyclone last month, Cyclone Kenneth added to the damage Thursday after leaving three people dead on the island nation of Comoros.

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Kenneth made landfall north of Pemba at about 2:30 p.m. GMT, with wind speeds of up to 280 kilometers per hour. The storm produced over five meters of rain which has raised concerns over the potential for serious flooding, according to the region's cyclone-monitoring center.

Kenneth has been classified as the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the region in history.

As a precaution, areas that were vulnerable to the storm have been evacuated, totaling some 30,000 people, according to a spokesman for Mozambique's National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC). Officials said Wednesday that over 680,000 people were potentially at risk, mainly due to the threat of flooding. The thousands of previously evacuated people have been moved into shelters.

The agency is prepared to feed 140,000 people for about fifteen days, and has announced that "the compulsory evacuation process will continue until we have all people in secure ground.”

Tropical Cyclone Idai, that hit the region in March, left over 1,000 people dead. The extent of the flooding from that storm was not anticipated by government and humanitarian groups, and warning systems were not adequately effected.

While the new system is the most severe storm to hit Mozambique, analysts do not believe Kenneth will be more devastating than Idai. The main factor which contributed to Idai's devastating effects was several rivers that meet and flow into the Mozambique Channel. Other than the estimated $1 billion in damages, the cyclone also resulted in disease outbreaks, specifically cholera.

Kenneth is expected to cause heavy rains in the region until late Monday.

The United Nations and other non-profit organizations have committed to helping the government establish a better disaster-management protocol.

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