Mozambique/South Africa: Floods prompt disaster appeal

OWN CORRESPONDENT, Nelpruit - Tuesday 2.30pm.

MPUMALANGA's provincial government wants parts of the province declared national disaster areas after heavy rains which wracked the northern and north-eastern parts of the country killed at least 15 people.

The world famous Kruger National Park is also set to apply for national disaster status after flood damage forced officials to close the park's headquarters at Skukuza and two of its most popular tourist camps.

Park director David Mabunda said on Tuesday floods had submerged even high-water bridges and severely damaged transport infrastructure in the southern regions of the park.

While roads, homes and bridges have been washed away, the N4 Toll Road linking South Africa with the Mozambiquan capital of Maputo has been made impassable by rising floodwaters.

The water supply to Nelspruit's city centre was cut on Tuesday when a flooded wetland washed away a feeder pipeline.

A string of Mpumalanga towns along the Crocodile River are without fresh drinking water after their pumps and water purification plants were swept away by floods overnight.

More than 100 000 people have been left homeless in Mozambique where rains have fallen since Friday.

Some areas, including Thohoyandou in the far north, have measured over 700mm of rain in the past 24-hours. School pupils have been left stranded and bridges have been washed away.

In Gauteng rivers have burst their banks, causing mud slides and flooding roads, and traffic has been severely hampered.
The Weather Bureau has forecast that rain will continue unabated for the next day or so. -- African Eye News

Published by Irwin Manoim for the Daily Mail & Guardian. Copyright, Daily Mail & Guardian, 1998.