6 March 2017

Mozambique: Two Children Die in Limpopo Flood

Maputo — Two children have died in the current flooding in the Limpopo Valley, in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza, according to a report on the independent television station, STV.

The children lost their lives on Saturday morning when, along with seven adults, they were crossing the Limpopo in a rowing boat, attempting to reach Chibuto district. According to district administrator Brigida Matavele, the boat overturned, and the two children drowned. All the adults were rescued.

The river has inundated parts of Chokwe, Guija and Chibuto districts, although at the weekend it did not reach the predicted height of 8.3 metres. This would have been 3.3 metres above flood alert level, and enough for the river to have swept over the top of the dyke built to protect Chokwe town. The maximum reported height of the Limpopo at Chokwe was 7.5 metres.

In Chokwe, 1,366 hectares of crops were inundated, and 600 of these are regarded as lost. In Guija, 906 hectares are flooded, and in Chibuto more than 300 hectares are said to be lost.

Visiting the Limpopo Valley at the weekend, Joao Machatine, the general director of the Mozambican relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), said that, when the waters retreat, it is crucial to take advantage of the humidity and replant.

“We shall work with our partners to reduce food aid, and bank on acquiring seeds”, said Machatine. Chokwe needs 22 tonnes of seeds, Guija 40 tonnes and Chibuto 10 tonnes. Two thirds of these requirements are for maize seeds and the rest for beans.

Machatine praised the local authorities for their prompt response to the flooding, but noted there are still people who ignore warnings. This was particularly the case with warning signs placed on roads that have been cut by flooding.

Some motorists are still trying to drive through flooded roads. According to the police in Guija, one vehicle owned by the National Roads Administration (ANE) was swept away by the waters which had cut the Canicado-Chicualacuala road (the road which links Guija to the northern districts of Gaza). The driver escaped through a window in the vehicle and told the police he had not noticed that the road was cut.

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