Maputo — Thanks to moderate to heavy rains in the upstream countries, particularly South Africa, the Limpopo River reached flood alert level at the measuring station in Combumune, in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza, on Saturday.
The alert level at Combumune is 4.5 metres – but on Saturday the river reached a height of 7.58 metres.
The National Water Board (DNA) warns that as the waters move downstream, they pose a threat of flooding to the districts of Mabalane, Guija, Chokwe, Chibuto and Xai-Xai. Chokwe is at the heart of Limpopo Valley irrigated agriculture, and a major flood here could cause serious crop losses.
However, as of Sunday, the Limpopo was well short of flood alert level at both Chokwe and Xai-Xai. At Chokwe, where the flood alert level is five metres, the river reached a level of 3.3 metres, while at Xai-Xai the river was measured at 1.28 metres, a long way below the alert level of 4.5 metres.
The Incomati river also surpassed the flood alert level at the weekend. On Saturday evening, it was measured at 5.65 metres at Ressano Garcia on the border with South Africa, where the alert level is five metres.
The Save river has burst its banks, reaching a height of 6.49 metres at Vila Franca do Save, almost a metre above flood alert level of 5.5 metres. As a result, the waters of the Save have invaded the two towns near the mouth of the river, Machanga, in Sofala province, and Nova Mambone, in Inhambane. Crops planted near the banks of the Save have been washed away.
The country’s largest river, the Zambezi, remains above the alert level on its lower reaches, but has begun to subside at Mutarara (in Tete province) and Caia (in Sofala). At Mutarara, where the alert level is five metres, the river fell from 5.76 metres on Friday to 5.22 metres on Sunday.
But nearer the mouth of the Zambezi, at Marromeu, the river is still rising . It was measured at 5.97 metres on Saturday and 6.21 metres on Sunday. The Marromeu flood alert level is 4.75 metres.
In the central province of Sofala, the Pungoe river has also gone into flood. At the Mafambisse sugar plantation, where the alert level is six metres, the river was measured at 6.87 metres on Friday, rising to 7.05 metres on Sunday.
Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina set off from Maputo on Monday morning on a tour of the central provinces, where he will assess the activities carried out under the government’s Contingency Plan for the 2012-2013 rainy season.