16 January 2013

Mozambique: Almost 160 Millimetres of Rain in Maputo

Maputo — The deluge that fell upon Maputo on Tuesday had much worse effects that initially thought, particularly in outlying suburbs with poor drainage.

According to the National Meteorology Institute (INAM), a total of 157.8 millimetres of rain fell on the city during the day. The storm did its worst damage in Kamaxaquene and Kamavota municipal districts. The impact on these areas, INAM says, was worse than that of the dramatic floods of February 2000,

Thus in the Ferroviario neighbourhood the rains opened ravines, some of which are ten metres deep, causing the partial or complete collapse of several buildings. At the bottom of some of the ravines can be seen cars, swept there by the furious torrents of water. Hauling them out of the ravines will be a difficult and expensive task, requiring the use of cranes.

A count of the damage in the two municipal districts shows that 105 houses were completely destroyed, and a further 265 were damaged, leaving hundreds of families and their few possessions in the open, dependent on assistance from the municipality.

Part of the Limpopo railway, which runs from Maputo to Zimbabwe, was left hanging in mid-air, because the soil on which it rested was swept away. The Mozambican port and rail company, CFM, is currently assessing the damage.

Visiting the worst affected areas on Wednesday, the Mayor of Maputo, David Simango, admitted that in all the neighbourhoods he had seen, the situation was serious, and the residents were demanding a response from the Municipal Councils.

“I understand the anger of the affected families, because it results from a lack of hope”, he said. “We have to help them regain their hope so that they can face a new day”.

Simango said the municipality is already working with the country’s relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) and with some companies to assist the victims and ensure that no more lives are lost.

Five children are now known to have drowned on Tuesday, and the City Council is caring for their families.

On Wednesday, despite threatening skies, there was no further rain. But INAM warns that more rain will fall on Maputo during the coming weekend, and advises the city’s residents to take preventive measures.

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