Renewed flooding cuts main north-south road

Maputo (AIM) - Renewed flooding on the Incomati river has again cut Mozambique's main north- south highway about 90 kilometres north of Maputo, Mozambican Television (TVM) reported on Tuesday night.

The waters covered the road at the 3rd February village in Manhica district, at much the same place where the road was cut by the first major Incomati flood in early February.

Repair teams from the Maputo Provincial Road and Bridge Construction and Maintenance Company (ECMEP) are in place to repair the damage and restore the movement of traffic as soon as possible.

According to Maputo provincial governor, Soares Nhaca, localities in the far south of the country, such as Catuane, near the Swazi border, and the tourist resort of Ponta de Ouro, are now cut off from the capital by flooding on the Maputo river.

He said the situation on the main rivers in the province had improved in the first fortnight of March, but had deteriorated again as from Sunday.

The Umbeluzi river has also burst its banks again, flooding the road west from Maputo to the town of Boane, and hence endangering traffic to and from Swaziland and South Africa.

According to the latest release from the Southern Regional Water Board (ARA-Sul), the levels of both the Incomati and the Umbeluzi are now dropping, but remain above flood alert level.

At Magude, upstream from the break in the north-south road, the level of the river fell from 7.34 to 7.27 metres between Monday evening and midday on Tuesday. Flood alert level at Magude is five metres.

This drop does give some hope that the river will not rise any further at the 3rd February village, and that reopening the road can be effected fairly quickly.

However, the Corumana dam on the Incomati's major tributary, the Sabie, was forced on Tuesday to increase its discharge from 78 to 208 cubic metres a second. The dam reservoir had become dangerously full and was at more than 107 per cent of its theoretical capacity.

At Goba on the Swazi border, the level of the Umbeluzi fell from 4.09 metres on Sunday evening to 3.66 metres at midday Tuesday - still above the flood alert level of 3.5 metres.

The Pequenos Libombos dam on the Umbeluzi has reduced its discharges over the same period from 806 to 740 cubic metres a second. The dam reservoir was at 114 per cent of its supposedly maximum capacity on Sunday, falling back to 106 per cent on Tuesday.

On the Limpopo, in Gaza province, a new flood peak is travelling down the river from the South African border. ARA-Sul expects this new flood to reach the town of Chokwe on Wednesday morning.

Chokwe was ruined by the huge Limpopo flood of late February, but over the past two weeks the waters had receded from the town. ARA-Sul warns, however, that the new wall of water will certainly flood Chokwe again, as well as other towns and villages near the river banks, such as Macarretane and Aldeia da Barragem.

This flood will hit the lower Limpopo on Thursday, reversing the declines in recent days of the level of the Limpopo at Xai- Xai, the flooded Gaza provincial capital. ARA-Sul warns anyone still near the river to move away and head for "the highest possible ground".

Copyright =A91998/1999 Mozambique News Agency (AIM). All Rights Reserved.


Mozambique News Agency
Copyright © Mozambique News Agency (AIM). All Rights Reserved