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Cyclone death toll jumps; Comoros struggles to restore power

MOZAMBIQUE-WEATHER-CYCLONE-KENNETH
Residents push a car through the floodwater in Mazive, southern Mozambique. Heavy rains from a powerful cyclone lashed northern Mozambique, just weeks after the country suffered one of the worst storms in its history.
(Emidio Josine / AFP/Getty Images)

The death toll from tropical Cyclone Kenneth increased to 42 as the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros struggled to restore power and torrential rains caused flooding in Mozambique.

At least 182 people were injured by the hurricane-strength storm that swept across the two nations last week, the United Nations humanitarian office said in an emailed statement. Four people died in Comoros, it said, while Mozambique’s disaster agency said the death toll in its country stood at 38.

Kenneth was the second cyclone to hit Mozambique in two months, after a storm in March left more than 1,000 people dead in the southern African nation, along with deaths in neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Most of Comoros’ inhabitants have been without power since Kenneth damaged the country’s electricity grid last week, “leaving the majority of people without power and impacting access to healthcare,” the U.N. said.

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About 63% of the nation’s food crops have been wiped out, along with a “significant” loss of livestock, the agency said.

The authorities in Comoros reconnected power to about 70% of consumers in the capital, Moroni, while there is a blackout in the rest of Grande Comore island and workers will need at least another week to fully restore power, Fayssoil Moussa, spokesman for the state power company Sonelec, said in a phone interview. On Anjouan, the second-biggest island, only the capital Mutsamadu has power, he said.

Damage in Mozambique includes the destruction of at least 35,100 houses, the U.N. said.


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