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17 July 2024

Cyclone hits Mozambique, northern areas on red alert

By Agencies


A tropical cyclone hit northern and central Mozambique Saturday destroying homes and cutting power lines, state media reported.

Cyclone Jokwe lashed Mozambique Island before hitting the northern coastal province of Nampula, traveling with winds of up to 130 kph (80 mph), Radio Mozambique said.

No casualties have been reported and the extent of the damage is not yet known.

The government declared a red alert, the highest level, in Nampula and a lesser, yellow, alert in the central provinces amid fears the storm will cause more damage.

Cyclone Jokwe is moving in a southwesterly direction toward the inland districts of Nampula and is expected to hit the central province of Zambezia Monday, bringing with it moderate rain.

Flooding - the worst since 2001 when 800 people died - is slowly subsiding in many parts of northern and central Mozambique. But there are fears that the cyclone could wreak new devastation.

The government was still assessing the damage, State Administration Minister Lucas Chomera, who is deputy chairman of a disaster management council, told the radio station.

He said the disaster relief teams were in the storm-hit areas to assist provincial authorities.

The cyclone brushed the northern tip of Madagascar on Wednesday, causing minimal damage.

The death toll from the powerful Cyclone Ivan, which slammed into Madagascar's east coast February 17, had risen to 93 from 83, Malagasy authorities said Saturday. About 191,000 people have been left homeless because of the storm, which caused widespread devastation on the island.

An earlier storm, Cyclone Fame, killed 13 people in Madagascar and last year was the worst season on record - six cyclones killed about 150 people.

Mozambique and Madagascar regularly suffer from cyclones in the southern Indian Ocean at this time of year and there are fears that global warming may exacerbate the cyclone season.  (AP)