Maputo — Cyclone Kenneth remains on course to hit the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday afternoon.
The National Meteorology Institute (INAM) forecasts that the centre of the cyclone will make landfall between the districts of Macomia and Mocimboa da Praia. The cyclone will bring winds of 180 kilometres an hour and gusts of 200 kilometres an hour. This is much the same as the wind speed of cyclone Idai which hit central Mozambique on 14 March.
As the storm approaches, flights to and from the airport in the provincial capital, Pemba, have been cancelled.
The National Directorate of Water Resource Management (DNGRH) has warned that it will make discharges from the Chipembe dam, in order to safeguard the integrity of the dam's structure.
The expected flooding will affect several villages in Ancuabe, Montepuez, Meluco and Quissanga districts. The DNGRH has recommended the immediate withdrawal of the inhabitants of these villages to higher ground.
The Mozambican relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) warns that the cyclone could affect over 400,000 people in the neighbouring province of Nampula. The provincial INGC delegate, Alberto Armando, told AIM that the INGC is positioning relief materials in advance to the areas likely to be most severely hit.
Most of the people at risk live in or near the port of Nacala, which is notoriously vulnerable to flooding and erosion.
The INGC has already identified class rooms and other safe places where, if necessary, people can take shelter from the cyclone.