26 January 2017

Mozambique Floods - Death Toll Hits 44, Schools Closed, Railway Line Damaged

Photo: MSF
Flooding in Mozambique.

At least 44 people are now known to have died in Mozambique as a direct result of heavy rains and strong winds since the start of the rainy season, local reports say.

With tens of thousands of Mozambicans already affected since October, more flooding has been reported in the past couple of weeks.

Here's what we know:

Which areas have been badly hit?

The Zambezi, Mozambique's largest river, burst its banks on Monday, according to Portuguese-language daily, Noticias.

The Save river has also flooded, with the town of Machanga in central Mozambique flooded on Friday and then again on Sunday. There has also been some flooding of the Pungwe river.

Details on those who have died are not clear: News24 has reported on the death of a child killed when part of a building collapsed in Chimoio, Manica province. Fifteen people were killed during a major storm in Maputo in October. Four of the deaths occurred last week. Mozambique's Council of Ministers says as of the end of last week 8 162 homes had been totally destroyed and another 21 000 damaged, Lusa news agency reported earlier this week.

Any more details on infrastructure that's been affected?

According to Noticias, 21 schools were flooded in the Machanga district of Sofala province. More than 7,000 pupils weren't able to go back to school in this area for the first day of term (on Monday).

The Machanga District Hospital was also reported flooded on Sunday.

Some roads have been rendered impassable : reports have named the EN1 in the Chibabava district, as well as the road between Buzi and Guara-Guara (though apparently this has just reopened to traffic) . Four sections of the Limpopo railway line were also damaged with mudslides reported , website Club of Mozambique says, citing the state AIM news agency.

What has been done to help those affected?

18 000 people have been getting food assistance in the last 24 hours in Machanga district, Noticias reports Wednesday. Three Air Force of Mozambique helicopters and some boats are transporting the aid, which also includes mosquito nets and tents. The aid is coming from the National Institute of Disaster Management.

Have the rains done anything to improve Maputo's water shortages?

Aguas da Regiao de Maputo (AdeM), the regional water company supplying the capital and surrounding areas, announced on January 17 that water rationing in the Greater Maputo Residential Area would continue "despite the rains that have been falling." Public Works Minister Carlos Bonete was quoted as saying that water levels in the key Pequenos Libombos dam were still well below what was needed to restore normal supplies.

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