19 March 2019

Mozambique: 5 000 Could Be Drowned in Next 24 Hours

THOUSANDS of Mozambicans are clinging on rooftops and trees for dear life amid fears more than 100 000 people will be submerged in water if they are not rescued in the next 24 hours.

This follows rivers burst their banks and engulfing communities in cyclone-hit Mozambique.

Bursting rivers inundated large swathes of land.

There are fears Buzi town, with an estimated 5 000 people, including more than 2 500 children, could be underwater within 24 hours.

"The assessment emerging from Mozambique today is chilling," said Machiel Pouw, Save the Children's response leader in Mozambique, said on Tuesday.

"Thousands of children lived in areas completely engulfed by water. In many places, no roofs or tree tops are even visible above the floods. In other areas, people are clinging to rooftops desperately waiting to be rescued."

He said the government and humanitarian agencies were in a race against the clock to save especially children's lives.

"This is especially true in Buzi, where we may have less than 24 hours to get people out."

According to the government of Mozambique, more than 1 000 people may have lost their lives and 600 000 people have been affected following the Cyclone Idai. People displaced by floods are mostly without water, food, shelter and healthcare.

The cyclone slammed into northern Mozambique last Friday, leaving a trail of destroyed homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

It is feared the storms will spark an outbreak of water borne diseases such as cholera.

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