Cyclone Idai, a category 4 cyclone with winds up to 180 km/h, heavy rain, and high waves, will hit the coast between Beira and Quelimane Thursday 14 March, the National Meteorological Institute (INAM) warned this morning. It will be the strongest cyclone to hit Mozambique in a decade. The cyclone is following an unusual path, crossing inland over Tete then moving east to the Mozambique Channel where it picked up energy from the warm water and is looping back toward the Zambeze valley, where it could return to Tete and could cause damage as far as Malawi.
The heavy rains last Thursday in Tete caused severe flooding, killing 10 people and displacing more than 10,000. The floods cut one of the support columns of the bridge over the Rovubue River, cutting the link between Tete and Moatize and on to Malawi. Government officials estimate it will take $15 mn to repair the bridge. Flooding has also disrupted coal shipments from the Vale mine in Tete.
400 Renamo soldiers have been integrated into the Mozambican army, Foreign Minister Jose Pacheco said Monday. But on Tuesday, Renamo denied the claim. (O Pais 11 Mar, Zitamar 12 Mar)
Forex reserve requirements were increased unexpected last week. Bank of Mozambique said that 36% of foreign currency deposits must be kept in reserve, up from 27%. It is an indication that the economic squeeze continues and that the government is short of dollars.