Maputo — 45 people have died in the storms and floods which have hit parts of northern Mozambique since the start of the current rainy season in October.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Friday, the director of the National Operational Emergency Centre (CENOE), Mauricio Xerinda, said that the deaths were caused by high winds, lightning strikes, and floods resulting from torrential rains.
Since October, the number of people affected by flooding is around 26,000. Over this period, 1,202 houses have been destroyed and a further 3,941 have been damaged.
So far there are no government-run accommodation centres for flood victims. Friends and relatives have looked after those who have lost their homes.
“When houses are destroyed, the families rebuild them”, said Xerinda. “It's important to note that most of the houses destroyed have already been rebuilt, since we are speaking about data from October onwards”.
While heavy rains have hit parts of the north, in southern Mozambique severe drought, blamed on the “El Nino” weather phenomenon, has plunged 167,000 people into food insecurity. If the drought continues until March, the number of people at risk of hunger could rise to two million.
According to the Crops and Early Warning Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, in the southern provinces 256,591 hectares of crops have been lost, which is 43 per cent of the total area sown. The figure for the central provinces is 180,440 hectares, which is nine per cent of the area sown. About 200,000 producers have lost their crops.
In the north of the country, however, good harvests are expected of maize, cassava and rice.