MAPUTO – Tropical storm Dineo surged towards the southern coast of Mozambique on Wednesday, prompting a government appeal to people living in coastal towns to reinforce the roofs of their homes.
Dineo is expected to develop into a category 1 cyclone that blows 130 kilometre hour winds and to make landfall some time in the next six hours, South Africa’s National Forecasting Centre said in a statement.
“This is still a formidable storm system which has the potential to cause much damage to coastal and inland infrastructure,” the centre said.
Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries which is currently in the throes of a debt and financial crisis, is prone to flooding. It is especially vulnerable following a scorching drought last year because soils degraded or hardened by dry spells do not easily absorb water.
Videos of the wind wrecking havoc shown online
Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management urged residents in the coastal cities of Inhambane and Maxixe and surrounding villages to reinforce their roofs, to protect windows and to stockpile food and water.
Mozambique was last hit by two cyclones in January 2012, which killed 26 people and displaced more than 125,000, according to an official tally.
South African petrochemicals group Sasol Ltd said it had suspended drilling activity at its oil and gas field in Inhambane due to the approaching cyclone.