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Children walk past a damaged building in the aftermath of the Cyclone Kenneth in Pemba, Mozambique, April 26, 2019, in this still image obtained from social media.

VOA U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.

The second powerful cyclone to hit Mozambique in six weeks has left at least one person dead, destroyed homes and knocked out power, authorities said.

Cyclone Kenneth made landfall Thursday evening in the north of the country with sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour, and the United Nations warned Friday of massive flooding ahead.

The storm followed Cyclone Idai, which hit Mozambique in mid-March and was labeled by the U.N. as "one of the deadliest storms on record in the Southern Hemisphere." Idai caused devastating flooding and killed 1,000 people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The World Food Program warned Friday that Kenneth could dump 600 mm (more than 23 inches) of rain on the region over the next 10 days, twice the amount of rain brought by Idai.

Mozambique officials said Friday that a woman in the city of Pemba was killed by a falling tree.

They said the storm had destroyed about 90 percent of the homes on the island of Ibo. Many homes in rural areas of Mozambique are made of mud.

Damaged buildings are pictured from inside a vehicle after Cyclone Kenneth swept through the region in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, April 26, 2019, in this image obtained from social media.
Damaged buildings are pictured from inside a vehicle after Cyclone Kenneth swept through the region in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, April 26, 2019, in this image obtained from social media.

The cyclone also cut off electricity on the island and toppled a mobile phone tower, cutting off communications.

Authorities said Pemba, the largest city in the cyclone-hit region, also had significant power outages.

"Cyclone Kenneth may require a major new humanitarian operation,'' even as post-Cyclone Idai relief operations are continuing, U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said.

Antonio Carabante, relief delegate with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the organization was very concerned about the expected heavy rainfall. "While attention is often given to wind speed, we know from experience that it is rainfall — and subsequent flooding and landslides — that can be even more dangerous from a humanitarian perspective," he said.

This was the first time on record that Mozambique had been hit by two cyclones in one season, U.N. officials said.

Before reaching Mozambique, Kenneth swept over the island nation of Comoros, killing three people.

ZITF - President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Uganda President Yoweri Museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has joined the chorus of African leaders calling on the west to lift sanctions imposed on n some of Zimbabwe’s government and political leaders as well as entities.

Speaking at the official opening of the 60th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo, where he was the guest of honor, Museveni applauded Zimbabwe for remaining, “steadfast in the face challenges.”

Museveni, who has been under international scrutiny for his longevity in power and the alleged suppression of political opponents, criticized the west, and said the idea of imposing sanctions as a form of punishment on individuals not abiding by their standards, was “cowardice.”

“I want to condemn the sanctions which have been put on Zimbabwe for such a long time,” Museveni said, referencing the close to two decades that Zimbabwe has been under sanctions from the United States, Britain and other countries in the European Union.

“The idea of sanctions is cowardice,” continued Museveni. “If somebody is wrong, leave him. He will fail by his own mistakes. Why do you have to put sanctions,” queried Museveni.

ZITF - President Museveni at ZITF Accompanied by Military
ZITF - President Museveni at ZITF Accompanied by Military

​Echoing Museveni’s call that sanctions are ineffective, longtime journalist Tapfuma Machakaire said sanctions seem to have failed to achieve their intended objective, be it changing governments or ways government run their countries.

Machakaire said it’s time for western countries to seek alternative strategies to bring about the change they feel is needed.

“We’ve been under sanction many years, but the objectives of the sanctions don’t appear to have been met. If they are intended to remove a government or change the way country is being government we are not seeing that working,” said Machakaire.

He advised western countries to change tactics.

“If there’s something specific that the superpowers want see African governments or other countries do, they should find other ways to address those with the countries whose governing practices they don’t agree with,” said Machakaire.

However, a Bulawayo resident who wanted to be identified only as John, dismissed the argument that sanctions were responsible for a country’s economic backslide, blaming it instead on the governments themselves.

“I don’t believe its sanctions that are keeping the country behind,” said John. “We, on our own, our leaders are failing to what we should be doing. So as far as sanctions, the leaders unfortunately are the ones failing on their own,” John concluded.

Despite call from various leaders and groups for the U.S., Britain and EU to lift the sanctions on Zimbabwe, all have recently extended the sanctions for an additional year, pending the implementation and adoption of certain reforms including respect for human rights, rule of law and freedom of the press. They also argue the sanctions are targeted and not intended to hurt ordinary citizens.

Zimbabwe has argued that the sanctions, imposed during the leadership of former President Robert Mugabe, should now be revisited and removed, given that Mugabe is now out of office, and the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has implemented some of the conditional reforms for lifting sanctions, such as respecting property rights and commitment to amending oppressive media laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, AIPPA.

​Museveni encouraged Zimbabwe to continue tapping into its natural resources such as minerals and agriculture, to grow its economy.

The ZITF, which ran under the theme, Propagating Industrial Growth Through Trade and Investment, will wrap up on Saturday.

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