Southern Africa: Tropical Cyclone Kenneth Flash Update No. 10 (6 May 2019)

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 06 May 2019


  • The number of people affected by Cyclone Kenneth had risen to nearly 250,000 people as of 6 May, including 217,122 people in Cabo Delgado and 32,862 people in Nampula, according to the Government.

  • More than 37,400 people have been reached with food assistance since Cyclone Kenneth made landfall on 25 April.

  • Accessibility by road remains compromised due to the destruction of infrastructure in multiple locations. However, the road from Macomia to Chai is now open.

  • Cholera prevention and response activities are being ramped-up.


The number of people affected by Cyclone Kenneth had risen to nearly 250,000 people as of 6 May, including 217,122 people in Cabo Delgado and 32,862 people in Nampula, according to the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC). There were 3,527 displaced people sheltering in accommodation centres in Cabo Delgado and Nampula provinces as of 6 May, including 3,214 people in 10 accommodation centres in Cabo Delgado province and 313 people in two sites in Nampula province, according to the INGC. The Government has called for the closure of accommodation centres that are occupying schools, to enable children to return to class, including the closure of the Mieze Centre in Metuge district. Humanitarian actors continue to advocate for safe, voluntary and dignified population movement.

At least 64 cumulative cases of cholera had been received in health centres in Pemba and Mecufi districts as of 0700hrs on 5 May, with no deaths recorded to date. There are concerns regarding the risk of spread of waterborne diseases in other areas due to lack of access to clean water and sanitation for people impacted and displaced by the cyclone. In all areas visited by humanitarian workers, open defecation has been reported, heightening the risk of the spread of disease as well as increasing protection risks for women and girls who are forced to relieve themselves in dark unsafe areas, away from their homes.

At least 19 health facilities have been destroyed or damaged, according to INGC. In multiple locations, shortages of essential medicines – including anti-malaria treatment and medicines for diarrhoea– have been reported. Reestablishment of sexual and reproductive health facilities is a priority. The only health center in Mucojo sede was significantly damaged by the cyclone, with most of the roof ripped off and all equipment and supplies destroyed or damaged. The solar panels for the cold chain were damaged, leaving no appropriate storage for vaccines, while stocks of antiretrovirals (ARV) drugs were reportedly destroyed. In Matemo, loss of power has broken the cold chain and there are no vaccines.

Food insecurity remains a major concern due to the destruction of planted crops (rice, beans, maize, cassava) and loss of pre-cyclone harvests that were either washed away or spoiled and not fit for human consumption. At least 55,488 hectares of crops have been affected across the northern provinces. Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in the middle of the northern region harvest. Unlike the central region, there is no second crop or harvest season in the north, so people will be forced to wait for the next harvest. Fishing boats and equipment (nets) have been destroyed, impacting negatively on families that rely on fishing for livelihoods and subsistence in the coastal areas. Food commodity prices are reportedly high in Metuge, Macomia and Quissanga, impacting access to staple foods, including maize, corn and rice and cash crops such as sesame.

More than 45,300 houses had been recorded as destroyed or damaged as of 6 May, and government and humanitarian workers visiting key areas estimated that about 85 per cent of houses assessed were destroyed. Many areas remain without power more than 10 days since landfall.

Children’s education has been hard-hit, with at least 477 classrooms destroyed or damaged, impacting nearly 42,000 school-age children, according to the INGC. Many children lost schooling and learning materials during the cyclone, including school uniforms and text books, including in Metuge area (33 primary schools and two secondary schools have been affected).

Communication with communities affected by the crisis remains challenging in multiple locations, as telecommunications and radio infrastructure were destroyed or damaged by the cyclone. In these areas, communities have relied on friends, neighbours, family and the Government for information.

Accessibility by road remains compromised due to the severe destruction of infrastructure by Cyclone Kenneth. Several areas of Metuge remain cut-off by road. To get relief supplies into the town, aid workers have transported them to the cutoff section, then manually transferred them to the other side of the road, where they are collected by different trucks. Mucojo Sede is currently reachable only via air or sea and road access remains cut from Macomia Sede. Matemo island can only be reached via air or sea. The airstrip is quite far from the community (1 hour walk to the closest village and 3.5 hours walk to the health center).

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