25 April 2019

Tanzania - Mtwara Residents Vacate Homes As Cyclone Kenneth Approaches

Photo: Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory image
On April 25, 2019, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image of Tropical Cyclone Kenneth just before landfall near the border of Mozambique and Tanzania. Around the time of the image, the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center estimated sustained winds of 120 knots (220km/h).

Mtwara — Some residents of Mtwara Urban District are vacating their homes in search for safer places ahead of the advancing tropical storm cyclone Kenneth that may hit parts of Mtwara and Lindi regions in southern Tanzania and parts of northern Mozambique.

A spot check by The Citizen has established that the residents started shifting early on Thursday, April 25, 2019 from the town centre to Mtwara Airport and barracks of the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) which are on the outskirts.

The Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) said on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 that Tanzania and Mozambique would be hit by cyclone Kenneth later today (Thursday, April 25, 2019).

TMA briefed the press on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 11am that the storm had been spotted north western parts of Madagascar about 600 kilometres from the coast of Tanzania and was travelling at a rotational speed of 160 kilometres per hour.

Earlier this week, AccuWeather - an American media company that provides commercial weather forecasting services worldwide, said its forecast that a new cyclone is likely to hit Lindi and Mtwara regions of Tanzania and Pemba in Mozambique this week.

The amount of rainfall expected, AccuWeather said, can result in life-threatening flooding and lead to homes being inundated by floodwaters.

"If this depression becomes the next organized tropical cyclone in the South-West Indian Ocean, it would be given the name Kenneth," said AccuWeather.

Some Mtwara resident braved shower rains early on Thursday as they moved to safer places on foot while others travelled by motorbikes and personal vehicles.

"I'm shifting to Naliendele with my family. We will be there until the cyclone passes. That is what we have been advised to do and I won't take any chances," a resident of Mtwara town, who introduced herself by one name only as Annette, told The Citizen.

A resident of Shangani, which is on the beach, Ms Esther Mmari relocated without taking with her any of her belongings.

"I live very close to the coast. All my neighbours have moved with their belongings. I decided to collect only my most vital items, including documents, bank and health insurance cards," she said.

A resident of Kiangu, Mr Rajabu Yusuph, said he resides in an area that is prone to floods hence the need to move before the worst happens.

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