Maputo — More than 700 hectares of crops have been inundated in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza thanks to heavy rains upstream in the Limpopo river basin, according to a Sunday report on Radio Mozambique.
Visiting the flooded area on Friday, the Gaza provincial governor, Stela da Graca Pinto, said that at least 190 hectares has been saved thanks to the use of pumps to evacuate the flood waters.
She believed that the overall impact of the rains was highly positive, since they had broken the drought that struck the Limpopo Valley in 2016. “These rains have brought hope”, she said, stressing that the province will be able to meet and perhaps surpass the target laid down for agricultural production this year.
She admitted that the flood wave travelling down the Limpopo “has brought some problems. But we must not allow ourselves to be shaken. We shall continue to work together to overcome the difficulties”.
She urged Gaza farmers not to be disheartened, and to continue working to increase their production.
Meanwhile the National Meteorology Institute (INAM) has warned that heavy rains and strong winds will continue in the central and northern provinces. In the period up to 11 January, rains of up to 50 millimetres in 24 hours are expected to fall in parts of the Zambezi Valley.
In the far south, rain fell persistently over the weekend in Maputo city and the surrounding area. Heavy rain, however, is still needed in the Umbeluzi Valley in Maputo province and in neighbouring Swaziland in order to raise the level of the reservoir at the Pequenos Libombos dam, which was only 14 per cent full on Thursday.
The Umbeluzi and the Pequenos Libombos reservoir are the main source of drinking water for Maputo and Matola cities. The government has already banned the use of Umbeluzi water for irrigated agriculture, in order to safeguard the water supply for greater Maputo.