Southern Africa: Tropical Cyclone Kenneth Flash Update No. 1 (24 April 2019)

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 24 Apr 2019

HIGHLIGHTS

  • On 23 April, a tropical storm north of Madagascar began to strengthen and was named Tropical Cyclone Kenneth.

  • The Cyclone is expected to impact Comoros on 24 April and make landfall in Mozambique on 25 April.

  • Heavy rainfall and winds are expected in Comoros, Mozambique and Tanzania.

  • There is significant risk of flash and river flooding where heavy rainfall occurs. Winds are likely to be strong enough to cause destruction.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

On 23 April, Tropical Cyclone Kenneth formed north of Madagascar and east of the Aldabra Atoll, north of the Mozambique Channel. Its path is expected to pass over the northern tip of the Comoros islands on 24 April and continue onward to northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania. It is expected to make landfall in the district of Palma in Mozambique on 25 April.

The Pacific Disaster Center expects a rapid intensification of the cyclone over the next 36 hours. After making landfall it is expected to rapidly weaken and eventually dissipate. Many areas along the cyclone’s path could see significant rainfall, and there is a high risk of flash and river flooding where heavy rainfall occurs, as well as of storm surge in coastal areas. Winds are likely to be strong enough to cause damage or destruction.

The Global Disaster Alert Coordination System (GDACS) has issued an orange alert for the Cyclone, meaning a medium humanitarian impact is expected based on the storm strength and its forecasted path. According to UNOSAT, the entire population of Comoros (758,339) is within the Cyclone’s windspeed zones, with Grand Comore the primary concern. In Mozambique, more than 747,000 people are living within the Cyclone’s path, mainly in Cabo Delgado Province, including a projected 117,000 living in high wind speed zones.

Tropical Cyclone Kenneth is expected to become only the third satellite-era system to evolve to a moderate tropical storm stage or higher in the area north of the Mozambique Channel, according to Meteo France. The other two systems concerned, Elinah in 1983 and Doloresse in 1996, did not reach the African coast. Tropical Cyclone Kenneth therefore threatens an area where the population is not used to cyclones.

PREPAREDNESS

In the Comoros, the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Civile (DGSC) triggered a yellow cyclone alert on 23 April, in accordance with the national procedures that were adopted in 2010. The expectation is that northern Comoros will be hit, and other islands will experience rain gusts, possibly resulting in health, education and food security challenges.

In Mozambique, the National Directorate of Water Resources has recommended that people living in areas at risk of flooding and landslides move to safe elevated areas, and informed that the water basins of Rovuma, Messalo, Montepuëz, Megaruma and Lūrio may rapidly increase, with the risk of overflowing, possibly affecting more than 70,000 people. There is a moderate to high risk of floods and erosion in the cities of Pemba, Nacala Porto and Nacala-A-Velha, possibly affecting 10,000 people. There are also concerns that Chipembe dam could be affected.

In Tanzania, an increase in cloud formation is already being witnessed, and an increase of rain is expected in Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Pemba, Lindi and Mtwara regions, the south coast of Tanzania and around Lake Victoria. Strong winds are expected along the coast. People have been urged to follow the national TV weather broadcast as it provides advice on actions to be taken in real time.

In Malawi, the Government has issued a statement saying it expects enhanced rainfall throughout the country and in particular along the lakeshore.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.