‘Visual Chaos’: A Photographer’s View Of Cyclone Kenneth

Imagine your house is gone. And yet the TV is still standing.

That’s one of the scenes that photojournalist Tommy Trenchard documented as he visited parts of Mozambique hit by Cyclone Kenneth on Thursday.

Winds reportedly blew up to 174 miles per hour.

More than 20 inches of rain fell over a couple of days — with another 20 inches forecast this week.

Houses were obliterated, roads turned into rivers and the death toll now stands at 38.

The storm struck some six weeks after Cyclone Idai, touching down in a different part of the country — in the north. Both cyclones are rare events. According to the World Meteorological Organization, “there is no record of two storms of such intensity striking Mozambique in the same season.”

And so a country already in the throes of a humanitarian disaster — the World Bank puts a $2 billion price tag on the recovery effort for Idai — is reeling again.

Trenchard traveled north from the city of Pemba to Macomia and surrounding villages, “where the destruction is incredibly severe,” he says. “It was overwhelming to see the visual chaos — the mess of fallen trees, belongings, collapsed homes.”

Despite the destruction, he saw people “calmly getting their lives back in order. Of course there’s shock and despair, but you also see incredible stoicism and resilience. Amid the carnage there are even small glimpses of normal life going on. In Macomia two days after the storm, some shops had already reopened even though they no longer had a roof or four walls.”

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