More than two metres of rain have fallen in Pemba, the capital of the Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique since Cyclone Kenneth arrived just under two weeks ago. To put that into context, that’s about four times the average that falls over London in a year.
Cyclones are severe storms that form over the Indian Ocean. Exactly like hurricanes in the Atlantic, and typhoons in the Pacific (it is only the geographical location that sets them apart) all are formed when warm, moist air rises and interacts with cool air sinking. They coincide with the months in which an area of sea is at its warmest.
Side note: one of many concerns about icecaps disappearing then, is that there will be a greater surface area on the earth covered by dark water, which will absorb more of the sun’s heat rather than reflecting it back into space, giving rise to increasingly violent storms. Tropical cyclones – as they are collectively known as – are part of a annual weather cycle, but it should be noted that Kenneth was the strongest cyclone to hit Africa since records began.
Relief efforts are underway in Mozambique where 41 people have been killed, 35,000 homes destroyed and 200,000 people at further risk, having been cut off by relief efforts – since aid flights were grounded for two days and outlying islands were affected. A big danger for people living in these areas is the spread of disease: when sewers become flooded, waterborne diseases can spread when contaminated and clean water mix.
African Parks are among the organisations directly involved with rescue efforts providing a helicopter and full crew, two rescue boats, a ground crew with rangers to support and the possibility of deploying additional rangers upon completion of medical training. If you’d like to donate to African Parks’s relief effort, follow this link.
The cyclone season runs from November through April. According to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, there are a number of ways that storms can pose a risk to travellers. For further information and advice on cyclones please see the Met Office website or Foreign and Commonwealth Office websites.
Top picture taken from NASA; video by World Weather.