Maputo — The Mozambican government's Disaster Management Technical Council (CTGC) on Friday announced an “institutional orange alert” throughout the country, as the peak of the southern African rainy season approaches.
Raising the level of alert, a CTGC statement says, is intended to put contingency plans for possible floods onto an operational footing, help avoid loss of life and damage to infrastructures, and provide greater attention to the most vulnerable social groups (children, pregnant women, the elderly and the chronically ill).
The statement notes that the first half of the rainy season (October to December) has been marked by moderate to heavy rainfall in the centre and north of the country. In Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Tete provinces, and coastal regions of Cabo Delgado, there was rainfall of between 250 and 400 millimetres in ten days.
Continued rain is forecast for the central and northern provinces over the next fortnight, notably in Zambezia, Tete, parts of Nampula and the south of Niassa.
Throughout the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region, the forecast for the January to March period is for normal to above normal rainfall.
Run-off remains low in the main Mozambican river basins, but this could easily change as the rainy season advances.
The CTGC is particularly concerned about the Limpopo valley in the southern province of Gaza, which was severely hit by flooding in January and February this year. Protective infrastructures such as dikes were damaged and they have not all been repaired yet.
Gaza's two largest urban areas, Chokwe and Xai-Xai, are highly vulnerable to flooding along the Limpopo. Should flooding recur, “actions to raise awareness are needed so that communities leaving in low lying areas can begin to move in good time”, the statement says.
The CTGC is recommending that all the Local Disaster Risk Management Committees should be put on a footing of readiness, observing all the measures envisaged in an orange alert.