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Mozambique hit by second cyclone; 3 dead, flooding feared

Families that have been displaced from the Paquete district of Pemba, Mozambique on April 26, 2019.
Families that have been displaced from the Paquete district of Pemba, Mozambique on April 26, 2019. AFP Photo/Nour Hemici/World Food Programme/AFP/Getty Images

JOHANNESBURG— The second powerful cyclone to rip into Mozambique in just six weeks stunned residents Friday in a region where such storms had not been recorded in the modern era. Three deaths were reported from Cyclone Kenneth and the UN warned of ‘‘massive flooding’’ ahead.

Kenneth had maximum sustained winds of 136 miles per hour, equal to a Category 4 hurricane, before it made landfall Thursday evening in far northern Mozambique, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.

It was the first time in recorded history that the southern African nation has been hit by two cyclones in one season, the UN said.

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More worryingly, the storm’s remnants in the next 10 days could dump twice as much rain as Cyclone Idai did on central Mozambique last month, World Food Program spokesman Herve Verhoosel said. Idai killed more than 600 people and displaced scores of thousands.

Kenneth struck a part of Mozambique that had never seen such a fierce storm during the age of satellite observation, forecasters said, renewing concerns about climate change and the country’s vulnerable, 1,500-mile Indian Ocean coastline. Mozambique’s disaster management agency said 700,000 people could be at risk.

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