Mozambique

Mozambique: Torrential rains cause flooding in Maputo area

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JOHANNESBURG, 7 February (IRIN) - Torrential rains and flooding in Mozambique in recent days has caused havoc, leaving hundreds of families homeless.
A World Food Programme (WFP) spokesman told IRIN on Monday that outlaying parts of the capital Maputo and the nearby city of Matola, about 25 km east of the capital, "were reported to be quite severely flooded." The spokesman added that the situation was being closely monitored.

The mayor of Maputo, Artur Canana, has described the situation as "dramatic". He said houses in poorly maintained suburbs were under water and many roads in the city impassable. He said that the Maputo municipal authorities had begun erecting tents to shelter flood victims.

In its latest report on the flooding situation, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that Maputo and its neighbouring province of Gaza were among the most heavily affected areas. It said an estimated 18 people had died so far in Maputo Province because of the floods.

In Gaza Province, the most heavily affected areas had been the districts of Chibuto, Ckokwe, Mabalane and the Limpopo river basin especially around the provincial capital, Xai-Xai. According to OCHA, an estimated 7,000 hectares of cultivated land in Xai-Xai, had been flooded.

It also said several communities in Gaza's Chibuto district had been isolated by the floods. This led the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) to declare a state of emergency in the area on 27 January. THE INGC also arranged for the evacuation of about 6,000 people from the affected areas. In the Mabalane district, also in Gaza, there had been problems with drinking water, resulting in an increase in diarrhoea. It also cited an increase in malaria cases.

In the central Manhica Province, OCHA said, about 17,000 hectares of cultivated land had been flooded affecting an estimated 20,000 families. WFP said subsistence farmers in Manhica might now need food assistance after losing the season's crops. "It is expected that families who lost their houses and belongings will be in most urgent need," WFP said.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported on Monday that rains had cut off traffic along the country's main north-south road in the central Sofala Province, hampering overland transport between Maputo and the country's second city, the port of Beira some 725 km north of the capital.

Last year Mozambique experienced its worst flooding in 40 years, devastating an estimated 400,000 hectares of farmland. An estimated 70,000 people were affected by the floods with up to 6,000 displaced.

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