Malawi + 4 more

Southern Africa: IRIN flood briefs, 30 March

MOZAMBIQUE: Police suspend Limpopo boat operations
Police in the southern Mozambique province of Gaza have decided to suspend ferrying people across the Limpopo in rowing boats for safety reasons, news reports said on Thursday.

PANA said Gaza Police Commissioner Custodio Zandamela had taken the decision on Monday after 15 people died in boating accidents on the river. He said the police had so far impounded 50 vessels.

The 10 km journey across the flooded Limpopo valley from Chicumbane to Xai-Xai, the provincial capital, which normally takes 10 to 15 minutes by car, takes up to seven hours by boat and depending on how much luggage passengers are carrying, ferry ticket prices range from seven to US $15 a ride. It said the only vessel now allowed to ferry people is a Libyan naval boat operating on the river.


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) this week praised the Mozambique Red Cross Society (MRCS) for its commitment in tackling the flood disaster. An IFRC statement on Wednesday quoting its Secretary-general, Didier Cherpitel, said the MRCS had responded quickly to the disaster.

"With the support of the Federation, the Mozambique Red Cross has so far been able to help 100,000 people despite tremendous logistical constraints," the statement said. last week, Cherpitel visited the country with his MRC counterpart, Fernanda Teixeira. During his two-day stay, Cherpitel also held brief talks with Prime Minister Pascoal Mucumbi.

MOZAMBIQUE: Malawian rescuer honoured

The US Air Force has bestowed "The Commander of the Third Air Force Coin of Honour" on a Malawian army major for his outstanding performance during the international air rescue operation, PANA reported on Thursday.

Major Augustine Masamba was decorated by US Air Force Major-General Joe Wehrley on Sunday at a ceremony held in the capital, Maputo. Wehrley also congratulated the entire Malawi Air Wing squad, led by Major P.A. Namathanga, for its "outstanding performance" during the air rescue mission. Earlier, Masamba had been put in charge of the entire rescue operation which included the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the US Air Force and other rescue teams. Malawi's army commander, General Joseph Chimbayo, described Masamba as a pride for Malawi.

MOZAMBIQUE: Uganda donates US $100,000

Uganda has donated US $100,000 for flood relief operations in Mozambique, Information Minister Basoga Nsadhu announced in a statement broadcast by Radio Uganda.

NAMIBIA: Flash flood hit Walvis Bay

High rainfall has led to a critical shortage of water at the usually arid Namibian coastal town of Walvis Bay after flash floods at the weekend forced up to 1,000 people to leave their homes, 'The Namibian' reported on Thursday.

The municipality at Walvis Bay, which lies on the edge of the Namib desert, announced it had been forced to ration water to residents after a strong flow down the usually dry Kuiseb River damaged the water supply system.

"We want residents to know that water restrictions will apply in all seriousness," said Kevin Adams, the Municipal spokesman. More than 50,000 residents, fish factories and other businesses will be hit by the restrictions.

The municipality said water should only be used for household purposes, such as drinking, cooking and bathing. Water rationing is to be implemented immediately and will last indefinitely, while the municipality and the national water utility, NamWater, assess and repair the damage. "There is no danger for the town," said Adams, who added "there is no reason for people to be alarmed".

SOUTH AFRICA: A new flood command centre

The South African cabinet has agreed to set up a command centre focusing on flood ravaged areas in the north and northeast of the country, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported on Thursday.

The command centre would be headed by Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Lindiwe Sisulu. A national flood reconstruction committee comprising officials of the South African National Defence Force and other relevant departments would also be created, it said.


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