Mozambique floods reach tourist town of Xai-Xai
01/26/2013 19:47 GMT
MACIA, Mozambique, Jan 26, 2013 (AFP) - Floodwaters that have inundated southern Mozambique on Saturday reached the tourist hub of Xai-Xai, forcing the closure of a major north-south road, a United Nations official said.
The coastal city of Xai-Xai is located on the Limpopo river, whose swollen waters have flooded parts of the major traffic artery, UN representative Lola Castro told AFP, adding that it was unclear for now how many residents had been displaced by the deluge.
"They closed off the road four kilometres (2.5 miles)" before the inundated area, she said. "The river is eroding the road."
Authorities were racing to repair damaged sections of the crucial link connecting the southern capital Maputo to the north of the impoverished country.
Several districts of Xai-Xai were swamped on Saturday but the flooding had not yet reached the dramatic level seen in the town of Chokwe, further upstream in the same Gaza province.
The floodwaters in Xai-Xai hampered access for emergency services, forcing humanitarian agencies to deliver aid from the port of Beira, some 800 kilometres (500 miles) away, Castro said.
"We are bringing everything from Beira. It won't arrive until tomorrow (Sunday)," she added.
The floods in Mozambique, prompted by days of torrential rainfall, have killed at least 36 people in recent days and displaced nearly 70,000, according to the United Nations in Mozambique on Friday.
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