Cyclone Gombe hits northern Mozambique with high winds, rain

Vehicles submerged in flood waters in Beira, Mozambique Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. The Mozambican port city of Beira breathed a sigh of relief as Cyclone Eloise caused less damage than feared as it passed through, but the danger of flooding remained in a region still recovering from a devastating cyclone two years ago. (AP Photo/Michael Jensen)
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MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Cyclone Gombe has slammed into northern Mozambique with torrential winds and rain, causing widespread damage to homes and infrastructure and causing at least one death.

The cyclone, the latest of a series hitting southern Africa from the Indian Ocean, made landfall in Nampula province early Friday, toppling trees and ripping roofs off houses and public buildings, according to witnesses.

One resident of Nampula city was electrocuted by a fallen cable when he was trying to secure his roof, according to a report by Mozambican TV Miramar.

Electricity, water and mobile phone service have been disrupted, making communication difficult.

Amade Abubacar, a journalist living in Nampula, said he had been without power and water since this morning and that the telephone network is fluctuating. The city is paralyzed and commercial establishments and public institutions are closed, he said.

Mobile operator Vodacom issued a statement indicating that it is working to restore its services in affected areas, while Mozambique’s national airline, LAM, canceled flights to and from the cities of Nampula, Nacala, Quelimane, and Pemba.

Food aid intended for distribution in the affected districts was damaged by rain after roofs were blown off warehouses, according to the National Institute of Disaster Management.

After hitting the mainland, the cyclone has weakened slightly, according to Mozambique’s meteorological institute, which reported that the cyclone’s winds were 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour with gusts reaching 165 kilometers (102 miles) per hour.

Heavy rains and very strong winds and thunderstorms are expected across Mozambique’s central and northern provinces, according to the meteorological institute.