Mozambique: 36,000 in Accommodation Centres; Devastation in Beira

There are 36,000 people in 96 accommodation centres and about 40,000 people have been rescued, Rita Almeida, press spokesperson of the government disasters agency, said this morning. But no one really knows the full scale of the disaster.

Accommodation centres are housing 65,000 people, Land and Environment Minister Celso Correia, who represents the Council of Ministers in Sofala, told the press in Beira today. More centres are opening to house many more people. He estimates that at least 180,000 people are affected and that 2867 classrooms and 39 health units have been destroyed.

Nearly 400,000 hectares of crops have been lost. (O Pais).Flood levels are predicted to fall slowly in the Pungue and Buzi rivers over the next few days, as rain slow, according to today's government hydrology bulletin."There is total devastation," Beira Mayor Daviz Simango told Bristol link in a telephone conversation today. "The majority of public buildings are damaged; we will have to begin again." He listed the main needs as food, water, sanitation and zinc roofing sheets to replace those blown off so many houses. Beira is still cut off with no road access (see http://bit.ly/MozCyclone6) and no electricity, even in hospitals.O Pais estimates that 80% of the economic infrastructure of Beira has been destroyed.

Food is short and prices are doubling or quadrupling.President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday flew over parts of Tete and Manica and said life was beginning to return to normal, in sharp contrast to Sofala, "where there are still people clinging onto trees, without food and without water”, and Beira, where “The city is destroyed. “I overflew Sussundenga district [Manica], notably the Dombe area, and saw that those who had been surrounded by water are now out of danger”, he said.

The main road out of Beira, the EN6, was being rehabilitated by a Chinese company, and the company is rushing repair washed out sections. The road from Beira to Zimbabwe is being rehabilitated at a cost of $410 mn and was supposed to resist flooding, even at this level, according to Public Works Minister Joao Machatine. The Pugue River floods every year, but it appears that two few culverts were used to carry water under the road and the bridges were not strong enough. (@Verdade)

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