Mozambique Fears Flooding, Tells Thousands to Seek Higher Ground

Mozambique’s government urged many people to immediately seek higher ground Saturday in the wake of Cyclone Kenneth, fearing flooding and mudslides in the days ahead as heavy rain lashed the region.

At least five people were killed, the government said. Mozambique’s disaster management agency said one person had died in Pemba city and another in hard-hit Macomia district, while residents on Ibo island said two people died there. Details on the fifth death were not immediately available.

Aerial photos showed some communities nearly flattened by the storm. About 3,500 homes in parts of the country’s northernmost Cabo Delgado province were partially or fully destroyed, with electricity cut, some roads blocked and at least one key bridge collapsed. Some schools and health centers were damaged. Nearly 700,000 people could be at risk, many left exposed and hungry as waters rise.

“There’s a very intense strip of destruction where the wind first made impact in coastal districts,” Nicholas Finney, response team leader with the aid group Save the Children, told The Associated Press after visiting Macomia district. The team found people in shock in a region where a cyclone had never been recorded in the modern age.

Terrified children and traumatized parents “face a huge task to start to rebuild,” he said.

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