JOHANNESBURG, 10 February (IRIN) -
Torrential rains and flooding continued across most of Mozambique on Thursday
as humanitarian agencies evaluated the scale of a disaster that has left
tens thousands homeless across the country.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said in a report on Thursday that the Incomati, Umbeluzi and Sabie Rivers had risen to their highest levels ever recorded, causing extensive damage especially near the capital Maputo, and Matola, about 45 km to the west of Maputo.
WFP also cited concern for the north of the country where the Save and Buzi Rivers had begun flooding. It added that more flooding from excess flows in South Africa. "All reservoirs in South Africa are full, which means that any meaningful rainfall in South Africa would automatically have negative consequences for Mozambique further downstream," the WFP report said.
In Maputo, a city of one million, about 100,000 people have been affected by the flooding. WFP said about 20,000 people are being sheltered at 14 centres in the city. It said that 1,000 mt of food, enough to feed 70,000 people for one month, would be distributed. Authorities in Maputo also started rationing water after a treatment plant was flooded. WFP said identifying new areas to relocate other displaced families had now become a priority.
WFP said that it was also providing 54,655 people with food aid in other parts of the Maputo Province. "Recent information indicates that these numbers should increase by about 10 percent," the report said.
In Matola, an estimated 100,000 people had been affected by the floods. The city has population of about 420,000. It said that 2,000 people were being housed at 11 sites in the city and that "several cases of malaria had been reported at some of these sites". It said that there were also reports of tuberculosis in parts of Matola. According to WFP, electricity in Matola was working at 50 percent capacity.
In Xai-Xai, the capital of the southern Gaza Province, 5,000 people had to be resettled. This number was likely to increase as the level of the Limpopo River rose once again.
In Inhambane Province to the east of the country, flooding from the Save River was affecting the Govuro district in the north of the province.
The Buzi River in Sofala Province in the east, had also burst its banks, flooding most of the Buzi district. WFP said that 6,975 families have been affected, with about 34,874 people having to be evacuated. It said that there was no access to the south of the province and that the main road to Maputo in the Chibabava district was also impassable.
The flooding has also devastated other neighbouring countries. An IRIN Focus report on the situation can be viewed at: http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN/sa/countrystories/other/20000208.htm
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