Tropical cyclone Jokwe is expected to lash northern Mozambique on Saturday after sweeping through parts of Madagascar, a meteorological official said. Mussa Mustafa, head of Mozambique's National Meteorological Institute, said the cyclone's force would likely be strongest near the port of Nacala, which suffered severe floods in January and February.
But he said the risk of renewed flooding was small because the rains would hit coastal areas and flow into the ocean. Tens of thousands of people in Mozambique were forced to flee their homes earlier this year in what the United Nations said could be the worst floods in memory, engulfing farmland and wrecking roads and bridges.
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Mustafa said swirling winds of around 100 kph (62 mph) were clipping the northern tip of Madagascar and heading towards the Mozambique Channel at increasing speed. Cyclone Jokwe is currently in Madagascar moving towards Mozambique and it will influence the weather in Mozambique, particularly maritime navigation, he told Reuters.
There will heavy rains as of tomorrow in the northern regions of the Nampula province (and) the districts of Mogincual and Angoche are likely to be struck on Saturday when the cyclone makes a landfall with a wind speed of 140 kph, he added. Last month Cyclone Ivan smashed Madagascar, killing more than 80 people and leaving over 200,000 homeless, but lost steam before striking Mozambique.
The death toll from Cyclone Ivan in Madagascar has risen to 93 people, while the total number of homeless is 332,391, a statement from the National Office for Disaster and Risk Management said. The European Union (EU) has donated 6.8 million euros ($11.3 million) towards the estimated $39.3 million needed to aid victims of the cyclone, which hit the Indian Ocean island last month, the statement said late on Friday (local time).
Madagascar is prone to frequent cyclones and tropical storms, especially in the rainy season from February to May. A tropical storm, Jokwe, hit briefly the north of the island on Wednesday, destroying 44 houses. The season's first cyclone, Cyclone Fame, killed at least 13 people.
Scientists say rising sea temperatures linked to climate change are likely to increase the frequency and intensity of cyclones in the tropics over the coming decades, and some suspect they have already. Six cyclones struck Madagascar last year, killing at least a 150 people and destroying homes and crops in the island's worst season on record.