2nd Cyclone Continues to Hit Mozambique

PEMBA, Mozambique (AP) -- Rains from Cyclone Kenneth, the second tropical storm to hit Mozambique within weeks, continued to pound the northeastern city of Pemba and surrounding areas on Monday causing massive flooding and destruction.

An estimated 160,000 people are at risk, with more torrential rain forecast in the coming days, said officials. Two deaths are reported so far but fatalities could rise due to "worrying" rains, said a government statement.

The earlier Cyclone Idai hit central Mozambique in mid-March killing at least 600 people.

The flooding from the new cyclone in northern Mozambique is "critical" in parts of Cabo Delgado province such as the towns of Ibo, Macomia and Quissanga, where many buildings and homes have been destroyed, said the statement. Most roads are impassable and the heavy rains have made air contact difficult.

As soon as the rains lift aid distribution will begin Monday via helicopter and boats in Ibo and Quissanga, said officials. Canoes may be used to deliver aid in Macomia, they said.

Safe drinking water is also becoming a challenge as wells have been contaminated, raising the threat of cholera. Malaria is another concern.

The prolonged heavy rains in Pemba, the provincial capital and an historic port city, caused deadly mudslides. As the rains eased Monday, residents of a poor neighborhood were digging for bodies. Two houses were crushed by the collapse of a sprawling dumpsite that hit just after midnight when rains poured, said local resident Manuel Joachim.

Joachim said they discovered the body of a woman Monday morning.

The slum is located in a valley below the dump and just a few kilometers (miles) off the coast.

Using picks and shovels, workmen and locals were digging through mud and garbage. Some, wearing gloves, used their hands to pick through pieces of garbage and mud.

"We have pulled out one body only, maybe we can find the other five," said Joachim.

In other parts of Pemba, some tried to return to a semblance of daily life amid the destruction. At a school in one suburb, school children in blue uniforms trooped into classes. In central Pemba, traders put their wares on street pavements and wooden tables while others were busy removing rubble from their homes and yards.

(KA)