Mozambique Cyclone: Storm blocks aid as death toll hits 38

The aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth is seen in Macomia District, Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique (Reuters)

Rains grounded aid flights in northern Mozambique for a second day on Monday, hampering efforts to reach survivors of Cyclone Kenneth as the death toll there jumped to 38.

The aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth is seen in Macomia District, Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique (Reuters)

The United Nations said that after rains started again, conditions were too dangerous for a flight to take off as rural districts further north were swamped and impassable after torrential rains on Sunday.

“Unfortunately the weather conditions are changing too fast and threatening the operation,” said Saviano Abreu, a spokesman for the United Nations’ humanitarian arm OCHA.

Cyclone Kenneth slammed into Mozambique’s province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday with winds of up to 280 kph, flattening villages and damaging thousands more homes.

Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management said the death toll stood at 38, up from an earlier estimate of five and 35,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged.

Kenneth is the second powerful tropical storm to hit southeast Africa in five weeks. Despite its power, Cyclone Kenneth is slow-moving, leading experts to fear it could continue to dump torrential rains on an area still reeling from the devastation wrought by Cyclone Idai.

Idai destroyed the port city of Beira and submerged entire villages, vast swathes of land and 700,000 hectares of crops. It killed more than 1,000 people across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The United Nations’ disaster response agency pledged to release $13 million to pay for food, shelter, health, water and sanitation assistance for areas hit by Cyclone Kenneth.