9 January 2014

Mozambique: 14 Dead in Storms in Nampula

Maputo — The storms and torrential rains that have hit the northern Mozambican province of Nampula since November have so far caused at least 14 deaths, Radio Mozambique reported on Thursday.

According to Virginia Malawene, the provincial delegate of the country's relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC), ten of those who died were struck by lightning in Erati, Mogovolas and Moma districts.

One person lost his life when the walls of a house in Monapo district collapsed.

A similar collapse, of walls at a school in Nampula City, cost the lives of three 14 year old pupils. They died when they went to consult the exam results posted on the walls of their school.

Malawene said that, despite these deaths and despite the continued heavy rainfall, Nampula is not yet in an emergency situation. She stressed that the situation is being closely monitored in all districts.

“What is happening now is a normal situation”, she said. “What is a matter of concern is that the rains are accompanied by thunderstorms, in a region where most of the houses are built of flimsy materials”.

Malawene said that, in the worst scenario envisaged for Nampula in the government's contingency plan for the rainy season, more than 200,000 people could be affected, particularly in the coastal areas.

She said that preventive measures are being taken, particularly raising awareness among the public of the risks inherent to the rainy season.

In the central province of Sofala, the authorities fear that, in Machanga district, the administrative post of Divinhe may soon run out of medicines, since the rains have completely isolated it from Machanga town for the past week.

There is already a serious outbreak of diarrhoeal diseases in Machanga, blamed by the local administration on the deterioration in basic sanitation. To disinfect the water sources, the health authorities are distributing chlorine to purify wells.

In Nhamaguina locality, a sharp rise in the Buzi river has isolated at least ten houses. The INGC in Sofala says it is carefully monitoring the situation.

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