Serious flooding in Mozambique in wake of Cyclone Kenneth

Serious flooding began on Sunday in parts of northern Mozambique that were hit by Cyclone Kenneth three days ago, with waters waist-high in areas, after the government urged many people to immediately seek higher ground. Hundreds of thousands of people were at risk.

Authorities have said at least five people died after the storm arrived Thursday evening with the force of a Category 4 hurricane, stunning residents of a region where a cyclone had not been recorded in the modern era. Kenneth came just six weeks after Cyclone Idai ripped into central Mozambique and killed more than 600 people.

The remnants of Kenneth could dump twice as much rain as Idai did, the U.N. World Program has said. It was the flooding after Idai that caused most of the deaths.

Heavy rain was falling in the main city of Pemba, which had lost power, as at least one search and rescue team was mobilized. As much as 250 millimeters (9 inches) of torrential rain, or about a quarter of the average annual rainfall for the region, is forecast over the next few days.

Nearly 700,000 people could be at risk in the largely rural region, many already exposed and hungry. Some rivers in the region have burst their banks in the past, notably in 2000.

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