Damaged buildings are seen after Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in Pemba, Mozambique, Picture: Neidi de Car valho/UNICEF via AP

Durban - Amnesty International secretary-general Kumi Naidoo has said the international community must "step-up" to assist those that have been severely affected by Cyclone Kenneth. 

“It is just five weeks since Cyclone Idai, one of the worst weather-related disasters in Southern Africa, hit Mozambique and the country has far from recovered. Now its people are experiencing the shock of yet another life-changing storm, one that is expected to bring yet more devastating rainfall, storm surges and flooding," said Naidoo via an emailed statement on Friday. 

He said that while Cyclone Kenneth had been downgraded after its winds weakened, it had already claimed three lives in the island nation of Comoros. 

"The government has rightly called for the swift evacuation of people, with about 30 000 of 700 000 people affected already evacuated from high risk areas, but the dangers to people’s lives and other human rights can continue in the aftermath of the storm, with the significantly heightened risk of flooding and disease." 

The two "unprecedented storms" that had hit Mozambique were "exactly what climate scientists warned would happen if we continue to warm our planet beyond its limits", said Naidoo. 

High intensity natural disasters would become far more prevalent, he said, and underscored the need for urgent action to reduce emissions and invest in adaptation measures that would protect lives. 

“If Kenneth inflicts strong damage, Mozambique will not be able to cope with relief and recovery. It is unconscionable that the post-Idai recovery fund remains drastically underfunded, with only about $88 million USD received of the $390 million USD needed as of April 9. Amnesty International is calling on the international community to step-up in Mozambique’s hour of need."

African News Agency (ANA)