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4 dead, thousands feared after Cyclone Kenneth’s landfall in Mozambique

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Cyclone Kenneth Mozambique
AP Photo/Anziza M'Changama

Four people are dead in northern Mozambique after Cyclone Kenneth made a historic landfall late on Thursday, and flooding rain will put more lives and property in peril in the coming days.

Kenneth is the first tropical cyclone with the equivalent of hurricane strength to strike Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado since modern record-keeping began 60 years ago.

According to the U.N., the strike by Kenneth marked the first time in recorded history that Mozambique has been hit by two powerful cyclones in the same season. Last month, the central part of the country was slammed by Cyclone Idai, which resulted in hundreds of fatalities.

The dangerous cyclone made landfall in Cabo Delgado, about 100 km (62 miles) north of Pemba, at the end of the day on Thursday, local time. Kenneth had 10-minute maximum sustained winds of 200 km/h (124 mph), the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans, as it moved onshore.

Meteo France estimates a life-threatening storm surge of 3-5 meters (10-16 feet) occurred along the coast, just south of landfall. The NOAA-20 satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) captured an ominous nighttime image of Kenneth making its way inland over Mozambique and then Tanzania.

Red Cross teams in northern Mozambique are reporting serious damage in towns and communities that endured were struck by Kenneth on Thursday night.

One woman was killed by a falling tree in Pemba, according to The Associated Press. Two other people were killed on Ibo Island. The death toll rose to four with the report of a fatality in Macomia district.

Prior to reaching Mozambique, Kenneth killed three people in the island nation of Comoros on Wednesday night.

About 90 per cent of homes, which were mostly made of mud, may have been destroyed in the main village on Ibo Island, Mozambique. Ibo is located near where Kenneth barreled onshore.

Electricity was cut on Ibo Island, where many residents also lost cellphone service when the cyclone downed a tower.

There are also reports of “extensive damage” to homes in Quissanga, according to the AP. Four ships sank offshore of Palma, but everyone survived.

Significant power outages plagued Pemba, where winds gusted to 70 km/h (44 mph) before weather-recording instruments stopped reporting.

As rescuers are attempting to reach remote villages, there are fears that thousands of people may be trapped, according to BBC News.

Nearly 700,000 may have been impacted by the cyclone, the AP reported the country’s disaster management agency said, with many left exposed and hungry amid rising flood waters.

However, the agency commended advance notice of Kenneth in preventing an even more dire situation.

While its strong winds have dramatically weakened, Kenneth will crawl through northeastern Mozambique this weekend and continue to unleash downpours.

More lives and property are at risk as the heavy rain can trigger new or exacerbate ongoing flooding problems.

“A flooding disaster can unfold in Cabo Delgado where Kenneth slammed onshore,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. “Additional downpours into this weekend can push the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ to 600 mm (24 inches).”

The heavy rain can cause streams, rivers and coastal waterways to flood neighbouring land and communities.

“This is a life-threatening situation as the hardest-hit areas can be put underwater,” Pydynowski warned. “Those needing to be rescued may only be able to be reached by boat or helicopters.”

Flooding downpours from Kenneth can also stream into eastern parts of the Mozambique province of Nampula, as well as graze neighbouring southern Tanzania.

Muidumbe, Mucojo, Nacaroa, Montepuez, Pemba and Nacala are among the communities facing flooding. All evacuation orders should be followed.

Mudslides can be triggered and endanger those living on hillsides.

“A few thunderstorms can also rumble around Kenneth’s centre, which can further hinder rescue, recovery and storm cleanup efforts,” Pydynowski said.

Prior to Kenneth striking Mozambique, Reuters reports that around 30,000 people were evacuated to safer buildings such as schools.

“Aside from storm damage, the greatest risk will immediately be from flooding due to heavy rains. Rivers within this region of Mozambique may flood, especially as at least one of the dams is already close to full capacity, preventing flood water from being retained.

This will make it almost impossible to distribute aid as roads will become impassable,” said Marc Nosbach, CARE Mozambique’s country director.

The areas being affected by Kenneth were largely spared from any of former Tropical Cyclone Idai’s destruction in March.

Many locations in central Mozambique, including Beira, suffered catastrophic damage. Residents are still trying to rebuild and recover from Tropical Cyclone Idai more than a month after the storm’s landfall.

Kenneth first brought heavy rainfall to parts of Madagascar from Monday into Wednesday.

Locations from Ambanja and Antisiranana to Andapa and Antalaha had drenching downpours and localized flooding. Rainfall totals of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) were common with 300 mm (12 inches) reported in Sambava.

The cyclone then lashed the island nation of Comoros, killing three people. Several other people sustained injuries, according to Reuters.

Winds gusted to 120 km/h (75 mph) at the Hahaya International Airport on Wednesday night. Rainfall totalled 225 mm (8.86 inches).

Streets across the island were littered with downed trees and debris from homes. The roofs of some homes were also ripped off. Widespread power outages occurred in the capital of Moroni.

About 1,000 homes sustained flooding and key crops were destroyed. Accuweather

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INTERNATIONAL

US issues travel warning for Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe Shut down

The United States has issued a warning to its citizens in Zimbabwe over possible civil unrest in the southern African country.

The US issued the travel advisory on Tuesday warning that “violent crime, such as assault, carjacking, and home invasion, is common”.

It urged those deciding to travel to Zimbabwe to stay alert and avoid openly displaying cash, stay away from political rallies, demonstrations and crowds, as well as monitor local media for breaking events and to be prepared to adjust plans”.

Americans were also urged to carry a copy of their passport and visa, while ensuring the originals are kept safe at their accommodation facilities, and also to keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible.

The warning comes as tensions mount in the face of unending fuel shortages, crippling power cuts, the rising cost of living, runaway inflation and continued price hikes of basic commodities and increasing transport costs.

Zimbabwe experienced a wave of violent protests in mid-January after the government increased the prices of petrol and diesel, from $1.33 to $3.34 in local currency for petrol and $1.20 to $3.20 for diesel. African News Agency

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INTERNATIONAL

South Africa election: ANC wins with a reduced majority

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Ramaphosa

South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) has been returned to office after winning the parliamentary election, but with a reduced majority.

The ANC secured 58% of the vote, ahead of the Democratic Alliance (DA) on 21%. The radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), came third with 11%.

A struggling economy and corruption have eroded the ANC’s popularity.

ANC leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa, called on the people to build a united South Africa.

In his victory speech, he said the result showed that South Africans still had faith in the ANC – in power since 1994 – to deliver.

“Let us now work together, black and white, men and women, young and old, to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it as proclaimed by our forebears,” Mr Ramaphosa told supporters in Pretoria.

He called for a South Africa “which is united, which is non-racial, which is non-sexist, democratic and prosperous”.

The BBC’s Will Ross says the ANC may not be too disheartened by the reduced majority.

He says that although its support has dropped, this was not a disastrous performance and some might even be tempted to call it a fairly successful exercise in damage limitation considering the ANC’s corruption scandals and the slow progress in tackling poverty.

Turnout was about 65% in the twin parliamentary and provincial elections – a drop compared to the 73% registered five years ago.

It was the first time the ANC’s share of the vote has fallen below the 60% mark and it will now have 19 fewer seats in the 400-member parliament.
This has been a critical election for the man promising to defeat corruption and boost a stagnant economy.

Cyril Ramaphosa will now argue that he has the mandate to create a cabinet capable of reducing unemployment that runs at 27% – more than half of it among the young. That means sidelining allies of his scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma.

They will, however, remain entrenched in the structures of the ANC unless prosecutions or the reports of public inquiries into corruption force them to quit.

Perceptions of honest government are critical if Mr Ramaphosa is to attract the investment South Africa needs.

This is Africa’s largest economy and tackling its inability to provide jobs for the young is the great challenge ahead.

In a country where the youth have traditionally led rebellions – in 1976 and again in the mid-1980s against apartheid – the most striking statistic in this election is the fall-off in voting by young people.

More than six million did not register to take part – roughly half of those in the 18-30 age bracket who were entitled to vote.

Disenchantment over corruption and the failure to provide jobs is deep.

It is a trend of alienation that Mr Ramaphosa will need to stem if the long-term health of democracy here is to be guaranteed.BBC

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ENTERTAINMENT

Zodwa Wabantu proposes to Ntobeko Linda

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Zodwa Wabantu Ntobeko Linda

Zodwa Wabantu has over the years proven that she is a nonconformist of note, and on Sunday Mzansi’s fave went “down on bended knees” to propose to her 24-year old lover, Ntobeko Linda. And he said “yes”.

Taking to her official Instagram account the local dancer and socialite shared the special moment with a powerful caption that highlights the plight that most successful women face when their partners aren’t doing well financially.

“We as Women we give our Men Money to Marry us. Hard working Women hide that they Marry themselves by giving their Boyfriends money to go to their families to pay Lobola. Some Women get Desperate to have that Ring on their Fingers.

She continued: But I don’t mind showing reality cause everything that has to do with Zodwa Wabantu is real. Mine is Real, I will Marry him”.

If you think that was dramatic enough then clearly you don’t know Zodwa because the dancer also revealed the prices of the rings.

She pulled receipts, showcasing that the “custom made princess style 9ct rose gold morganite and diamond” ring cost R47,826,09, while the one she bought for her bae only costs R5,217,39.

Zodwa has previously confirmed that she’s been dating Ntobeko for four years and now it seems the couple is ready to take their relationship to the next level.IOL

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