31 January 2013

Mozambique: Floods Cause Shortages in Massangena

Maputo — The district of Massangena, in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza, is facing serious shortages of food and medicines, because the floods on the Limpopo river have cut it off from the rest of the country, Radio Mozambique reported on Thursday.

Massangena, located in the north of Gaza, is usually reached along a dirt road. Produce reaches Massangena from Chokwe district, or from Mapai (in Chicualacuala district), but the floods have now made the road impassable.

The subsequent shortages are affecting about 16,000 people. “Right now the problem in Massangena is a shortage of food”, said one local leader to the Radio. “The stalls and all the other shops have nothing to sell”.

As a result, the provincial authorities intend to use aircraft to carry foodstuffs and medicines to Massangena on Thursday.

Elsewhere in the province, now that the flood waters are receding, thousands of people are leaving the accommodation centres set up by the government and are attempting to return to whatever is left of their houses. This is despite warnings from the authorities that it is too early to return to the flooded areas.

About 10,000 people have left the accommodation centres in Chokwe district and have returned to Chokwe town, which a few days ago was completely submerged, and still faces serious sanitation and health problems.

Some of the returnees are reported to be living on food (such as rice, sugar and biscuits) taken from shops that were flooded, and which are now quite unfit for human consumption.

The health authorities have urged the police and municipal officials to prevent any further looting of deteriorated goods, which could lead to outbreaks of disease.

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