5 February 2013

Mozambique: Floods - Death Toll Reaches 91

Maputo — The death toll in Mozambique from storms and floods this rainy season has reached 91, according to figures announced on Monday by Rita Almeida, spokesperson of the government’s Disaster Management Technical Council (CTGC).

The latest three deaths have been reported from Ile district, in the central province of Zambezia, which has been lashed by moderate to heavy rains for the last two weeks.

Like other fatalities in northern and central Mozambique, these deaths were caused by the collapse of houses, built of flimsy materials such as mud, bamboo poles and thatched roofs. 189 such houses have been destroyed in Ile, 25 in the neighbouring district of Gile, and 46 in Pebane district.

211,000 people have been directly affected by the storms and floods across the country, of whom about 150,000 are still living in temporary accommodation centres, mostly in the southern province of Gaza.

The worst of the crisis in the south of the country may now have passed, with the levels of most of the major rivers now receding. Claims that South Africa has opened floodgates on dams on its side of the border, and that a new flood wave will travel down the rivers of southern Mozambique, have proved unfounded.

“The levels of the Limpopo are continuing to fall”, said Almeida. “It is true that in some places the waters are dropping very slowly, but we have no information about a new flood wave in the near future”.

There was considerable disruption on the country’s main north-south road on Monday, because the National Roads Administration (ANE) was undertaking improvement work on the bridge over the Limpopo at Xai-Xai.

Many motorists were caught unaware, although the ANE had announced the traffic restrictions several days earlier.

The work was not due directly to the Limpopo flood. The ANE needed to deal with parts of the road near the bridge that were suffering from erosion, and were in danger of collapse Normal traffic across the bridge was restored on Monday night.

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