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Lightning kills six in Madagascar

The relatives – including a 3-year-old – had taken shelter from a storm

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Six people from the same family were “killed on the spot” by a lightning strike in Madagascar over the weekend while sheltering from a storm, officials said Monday.

The relatives — including a three-year-old child — were killed in the central village of Bakaro on Saturday. Another person suffered superficial burns.

“Twenty-five farmers sheltering from rain under a thatched cottage after leaving their rice field were hit by a lightning bolt,” said medical inspector William Patrick Rakotondralambo of the Fitsinjovana commune.

“Six people from the same family were killed on the spot, including a three-year-old child,” he added.

Eight survivors were treated for shock, Rakotondralambo said.

Lightning strikes are relatively common in Madagascar, an Indian Ocean island famed for its unique wildlife and well-known for its vanilla and precious redwood.

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Nigeria’s meteorology body warns of a dusty and hazy Monday

According to NiMet, hazy conditions are expected to prevail over the central states within the forecast period

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Nigeria's meteorology body warns of a dusty and hazy Monday

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted dusty haze and hazy conditions over the north and central cities with possibilities of thunderstorms over some parts of the coastal cities on Monday.

NiMet’s Weather Outlook on Sunday in Abuja forecast dusty hazy conditions with localised visibility range between 2 to 5 km over Potiskum, Maiduguri, Katsina, Kano, Damaturu, and Yola during the forecast period. It further predicted day and night temperatures of the region to be between 31 and 36 degree Celsius and between 14 and 19 degree Celsius respectively.

According to NiMet, hazy conditions are expected to prevail over the central states within the forecast period with day and night temperatures of 27 to 37 degree Celsius and 12 to 23 degree Celsius respectively.

For Southern states, partly cloudy to sunny conditions with early morning mist/fog over Calabar, Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Akure, Oshogbo, Ibadan, Ado-Ekiti, Port Harcourt, Eket, Yenagoa, and Warri are envisaged over the region in morning hours.

The meteorological agency envisages the chances of thunderstorms over Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Lagos during the afternoon and evening hours.

It predicted day and night temperatures of the region to be between 31 and 37 degree Celsius and between 20 and 24 degree Celsius respectively.

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East Africa News

Floods kill 29 in Kenya

Twenty five out of the country’s forty seven counties, including the capital of Nairobi, have experienced heavy rainfall and are on high alert for flooding.

Those living in flood-prone areas have been advised to vacate their homes and relocate to higher ground.

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Flood kills 29 in Kenya

Twenty-nine people across several counties have lost their lives and over 12,000 have been displaced across Kenya in recent days as incessant and heavy rains continue to pound the East African nation.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has issued an advisory on the anticipated heavy downpour and warned residents in several regions to be on the lookout for floods. Twenty-five out of the country’s forty-seven counties, including the capital of Nairobi, has experienced heavy rainfall and are on high alert for flooding.

Flood kills 29 in Kenya

The most adversely affected are the counties of Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Kwale, Lamu, Turkana and Garissa. Relief efforts by the Kenya Red Cross, UNICEF and the Kenya Government are underway in various parts of the country.

Flood kills 29 in Kenya

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Camps for displaced families have been set up in the hard-hit counties of Wajir and Mandera where 8000 and 5000 households respectively have been affected by the floods. This initiative, however, has been significantly hampered by impassable, flooded roads and access routes.

relief supplies as Flood kills 29 in Kenya

The Kenyan government, through its spokesperson, Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, has stated that in addition to the loss of human life, the sectors of education, roads, agriculture and water have been adversely affected by the floods.

Flood kills 29 in Kenya

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In the case of the agricultural sector, farmlands in the affected areas have been completely submerged and an estimated 10,000 livestock lost. Those living in flood-prone areas have been advised to vacate their homes and relocate to higher ground.

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Lifestyle News

Deaths in Mozambique and Zimbabwe cyclone have exceeded 300

Mozambique’s government has declared a national emergency and ordered three days of national mourning.

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An aerial view of tents set up for displaced people, after the tropical cyclone Idai made landfall near the heavily-populated Mozambican port city of Beira - AFP

The death toll from a cyclone that smashed into Mozambique and Zimbabwe rose to more than 300 as rescuers raced against the clock to help survivors and the UN led the charge to provide aid.

“We already have more than 200 dead, and nearly 350,000 people are at risk,” Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced Tuesday, while the government in Zimbabwe said around 100 people had died but the toll could be three times that figure.

The UN, meanwhile, said that one of the worst storms to hit southern Africa in decades had also unleashed a humanitarian crisis in Malawi, affecting nearly a million people and forcing more than 80,000 from their homes.

Four days after Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall, emergency teams in central Mozambique fanned out in boats and helicopters, seeking to pluck survivors from roofs and treetops in an inland sea of floodwater, sometimes in the dead of night.

Air force personnel from Mozambique and South Africa were drafted in to fly rescue missions, while an NGO called Rescue South Africa said it had picked up 34 people since Friday night, using three helicopters.

“It is the only way to access the people that are stranded,” Rescue SA’s Abrie Senekal told AFP, saying the NGO was trying to hire more helicopters.

‘Like a tsunami’

Scher, who heads Rescue SA, said the helicopter teams were having to make difficult decisions.

“Sometimes we can only save two out of five, sometimes we drop food and go to someone else who’s in bigger danger,” he said.

“We just save what we can save and the others will perish.”

In Nhamatanda, some 60 kilometres northwest of Beira, 27-year-old Jose Batio and his wife and children survived by climbing onto a roof.

But a lot of their neighbours “were swept by the water,” he said.

“Water came like a tsunami and destroyed most things. We were prisoners on the roof,” he told AFP after they were rescued by boat.

The city of Beira, Mozambique’s second largest city and a major port, was immediately cut off after the storm. According to the Red Cross, the cyclone damaged or destroyed 90 percent of the city of half a million people.

President Nyusi, speaking on Tuesday after attending a cabinet meeting in the ravaged city, said the confirmed death toll stood at 202 and nearly 350,000 were “at risk”.

The government had declared a national emergency and ordered three days of national mourning, he said.

“We are in an extremely difficult situation,” Nyusi said, warning of high tides and waves of around eight metres (26 feet) in the coming days.

On Monday, Nyusi had said he feared more than 1,000 had died and more than 100,000 people were in danger.

Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world, was also hit by deadly floods in 2000 that killed 800 people and left at least 50,000 homeless.

Zimbabwe toll

The storm also lashed eastern Zimbabwe, leaving around 100 dead, a toll that could be as much as 300, local government minister July Moyo said after a cabinet briefing.

“I understand there are bodies which are floating, some have floated all the way to Mozambique,” he said.

“The total number, we were told they could be 100, some are saying there could be 300. But we cannot confirm this situation,” he said.

At least 217 others are missing and 44 stranded, officials said.

Worst hit was Chimanimani in Manicaland, an eastern province which borders Mozambique.

Families started burying their dead in damp graves on Monday, as injured survivors filled up the hospitals, an AFP correspondent said.

Military helicopters were airlifting people to Mutare, the largest city near Chimanimani.

The storm swept away homes and bridges, devastating huge areas in what Defence Minister Perrance Shiri said “resembles the aftermath of a full-scale war”.

Some roads were swallowed by massive sinkholes, while bridges were ripped to pieces by flash floods.

Aid ramps up

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it was mobilising aid for some 600,000 people, saying the world did not yet appreciate the scale of the “massive disaster”.

So far, it has dispatched more than five tonnes of emergency provisions to the affected areas.

“WFP aims to support 500,000 to 600,000 people in the coming weeks,” spokesman Herve Verhoosel told reporters in Geneva.

“I don’t think that the world (has) realised yet the scale of the problem.”

In Malawi, 920,000 people have been affected by the cyclone and 82,000 people have been displaced, the UN said.

“OCHA (the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) has deployed resources to support assessments and information management, and UNICEF is deploying additional supplies to affected areas including tents, water and sanitation supplies and learning materials to affected children,” it said.

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