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Second cyclone Swiss boost aid to Mozambique

damaged buildings are seen after Cyclone Kenneth

Damaged buildings are seen after Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in Pemba, Mozambique, photo provided by UNICEF

(Keystone / Neidi De Car Valho)

Switzerland is stepping up its water and sanitation aid in northern Mozambique, after the country was hit by a second powerful cyclone, just six weeks after the devastating Cyclone Idai.

A team of thee experts will fly over from Switzerland on Sunday, and aid is already being channelled into northern Mozambique, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)external link told in a written statement.

Cyclone Kenneth, which made landfall on Thursday, killed at least one person and left a trail of destruction in northern Mozambique, destroying houses, ripping up trees and knocking out power, local authorities said. It was the most powerful storm on record to hit Mozambique's northern coast.

“It is feared that over the next three to five days hefty rainfall will result in flooding in the Cabo Delgado Province as well as in the surrounding regions. Estimates say that up to 900,000 people in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa could be affected and will partially require humanitarian aid,” the FDFA said by email on Friday.

Cyclone Idai’s effects

Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, is already trying to recover from Cyclone Idai that battered the nation six weeks ago, causing devastating floods and killing more than 1,000 people across a swathe of southern Africa.

Switzerland sent humanitarian aid and experts to central Mozambique in March, concentrating on providing drinking water and shelter. Efforts were coordinated by the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC)’s humanitarian aid operationsexternal link and the Swiss embassy in the capital Maputoexternal link.

+ Read more about Swiss aid efforts following Cyclone Idai

Latest aid after Cyclone Kenneth

Due to Cyclone Kenneth, available material for drinking water treatment and supply was moved from central to northern Mozambique on Friday, the FDFA statement said.

“It is being handed over to an established, SDC-financed project run by partner organisation Helvetas in the province of Cabo Delgado in order to implement emergency measures.”

Two WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) specialists and one logistics expert from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unitexternal link are flying over from Switzerland on April 28, to provide support to the Helvetas WASH team on the ground, added the FDFA.

On the ground

Switzerland’s deputy ambassador to Mozambique, Leo Näschler told Swiss public television SRFexternal link on Friday that the storm was a huge challenge for local officials, given the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. Preparations had been made, such as centres for people fleeing the latest cyclone.

He also pointed to the rain as being the next big problem, bringing with it not only floods and landslides but also the danger of disease.

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