Mozambique: Nine Dead in Zambezia Storms

Maputo — The known death toll from the storms that struck the central Mozambican province of Zambezia in the first 12 days of this year now stands at nine, according to a report in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".

The deaths have been caused by lightning strikes, and the collapse of the walls of homes under the pressure of torrential rains.

On Saturday, rain in Alto Molocue district submerged a bridge over the Molocue river, and caused serious erosion along the main roads from Alto Molocue town to the interior of the district.

Speaking in the provincial capital, Quelimane, on Sunday, the general director of the country's relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), Augusta Maita, said the priority is to save lives and avoid any repetition of what happened in 2015, when 147 people lost their lives in floods in the basin of the Licungo river.

Despite the danger, people continue to build homes near the banks of the Licungo. Maita warned that this will no longer be tolerated and that, as from Monday, people still living in flood-prone areas in the Licungo basin, in the town of Mocuba, will be forcibly removed.

Maita on Saturday visited the resettlement area in Mocuba where the first people forcibly moved, in late December, have been re-housed. She said the forced evacuation had been misinterpreted by some sectors of society, but the government's goal was to save lives, and create decent housing conditions.

Speaking at a meeting of the Zambezia Technical Emergency Council, Maita expressed concern at poor sanitary conditions in resettlement areas in Mocuba, Maganja da Costa and Namacurra districts. She urged the Council to act as quickly as possible to strengthen the construction of latrines in the resettlement areas.

The rains have affected electricity and water supply systems. In Maganja da Costa, for example, they have knocked out 12 pumps of a recently inaugurated water system.

Four pylons were blown down in Mocuba on Saturday morning, affecting the supply of electricity to several neighbourhoods.

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