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Cyclone hits Mozambique

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Cyclone Kenneth slammed into the northern province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday, flattening entire villages and killing at least five people

A man clears rubble from the streets in Pemba city, on the northeastern coast of Mozambique, yesterday. Flooding has begun in the city that was hit by Cyclone Kenneth three days ago, after Mozambiques government urged people to immediately seek higher ground, fearing flooding and mudslides in the days ahead. Picture: AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Rescuers were racing to help people caught in fast-rising floodwaters in Mozambique’s cyclone-hit city of Pemba yesterday, as houses collapsed in one neighbourhood and heavy rain raised fears of worse to come.

Cyclone Kenneth slammed into the northern province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday, flattening entire villages and killing at least five people.

It has since pounded a region that is prone to floods and mudslides with rain, prompting warnings that rivers could burst their banks and leave vast areas under water.

The impoverished southern African country is still recovering from another powerful cyclone that hit further south last month, killing more than 1 000 people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

As a heavy downpour hammered Pemba, home to about 200 000 people, brown water started to course through the streets yesterday.

Homes started to collapse in the northern neighbourhood of Natite, one of the worst-affected areas, the United Nations humanitarian agency, OCHA, said on Twitter.

Residents tried frantically to bail water out of their houses with plastic buckets, but many quickly flooded in the torrential rain. Others stacked sandbags outside their homes to keep the rising water out, while elsewhere small, rapid rivers formed, carving trenches into the street.

Rescue workers evacuated at least 130 people to centres elsewhere in the city. – Reuters