Rescuers rush to help as serious flooding starts in cyclone-hit Mozambique

Rescuers were moving in to help people trapped by rapidly rising floodwater in the northern Mozambique city of Pemba on Sunday, home to 200,000 people, a United Nations (UN) spokesman said, as Cyclone Kenneth dumped more rain on the region.

The storm slammed in to the province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday, killing five people, and has since then pounded an area prone to floods and landslides with rain, fuelling fears rivers could burst their banks and leave vast areas under water.

It was raining heavily in the provincial capital of Pemba on Sunday, which had until now been spared from severe damage and a number of neighbourhoods were now flooded, Saviano Abreu, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in southern and eastern Africa said.

“There are already people in need of search and rescue,” he said, adding a team was on their way to the neighbourhood of Natite, in the city’s north. “We unfortunately are expecting devastating floods in Pemba.”

Aid workers were currently working to assess the scale of the flooding both in Pemba and the surrounding areas, where there were reports of waist-high water, he continued.

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