Mozambique: Cyclone Chalane to hit Beira Wednesday Morning

Tropical Cyclone (file photo).

Cyclone Chalane is moving west across the Mozambique Channel and is expected to reach Beira tomorrow morning (Wednesday 30 Dec) with winds up to 100 km/h, as the cyclone picks up heat and energy from the warm Mozambique Channel.  It is predicted to continue west into Zimbabwe Wednesday afternoon. The cyclone comes just 9 months after the devastating cyclone Idai. Chalane should be less damaging, but still with strong winds and heavy rain.

Chalane crossed Madagascar Friday and Saturday with "heavy wind and rains, but limited damage," according to OCHA. The US Navy Cyclone Tracking Centre (CTC) produces the best maps, with predicted course and wind speed, undated twice a day, on https://www.metoc.navy.mil/jtwc/products/sh0721.gif  (On the maps, z with the time means London GMT, speeds are in knots with 1 kts  = 1.852 km/h.) An alternative cyclone tracker is MeteoFrance: http://www.meteofrance.re/cyclone/activite-cyclonique-en-cours/dirre/CHALANE

We are posting the daily flood report

The National Hydrologic Bulletin is published daily and is the best summary of rainfall, flooding and the amount of water in rivers and reservoirs. Essential reading for flooding and warnings. We are now posting it daily on http://bit.ly/Moz-flood21, because it is no longer posted by the authors, Direccao Nacional de Gestao de Recursos Hidricos, Ministerio das Obras Publicas, Habitacao e Recursos Hidricos. Manual posting, so apologies for irregularities; I will try to get it posted by early evening.

The rainy season has started and heavy rain in Zimbabwe is causing rising levels in the Limpopo and Pungue rivers. The far south remains very dry and the lake above the Pequenos Libombos dam, which provides water to Maputo and Matola, is only 18% full, down from 23% in October.

Cabo Delgado: Defence forces hold their ground

Defence forces have retaken the key road junction town of Awasse (with roads to Mueda, Mocimboa da Praia and south to Macomia). And insurgents were expelled after they again took the village of Muite, just 28 km south of Palma. But defence forces appear to be failing in their goal of recapturing Mocimboa da Praia by New Year. Fighting has been heavy with casualties on both sides. The rainy season has started and control of the only paved road will be key in the next few months.

In Muidumbe district, attacks continue by both sides. Police commander Bernardino Rafael said 30 insurgents were killed including in fighting on 25 December, but insurgents attacked the village of Magaia killing five people on 26 December. Carta de Mocambique (29 Dec) reports that many villagers who have not fled the fighting are sleeping in the bush at night.

OCHA's latest access map below appears very accurate. The full map with key is on https://bit.ly/Moz-CDg-access-Nov20. Red is "hard to reach" and indicates lack of government control, orange (Meluco, Mueda, Nangade and Ibo districts and Palma and Macomia towns) is "partially accessible". The red lines are roads which are not accessible.

Very good and pessimistic BBC video (28 Dec)

"Why are insurgents beheading people in Mozambique?" by Mark Sedgwick. It points out that insurgents recruited among the marginalised as poverty and inequality are increasing. There are obscure deals with multinational companies on gas and minerals where "the wealth always goes first to those that are linked to power". Liazzat Bonate, an expert in Islam in Mozambique, says the insurgency is not happening in other Muslim areas of northern Mozambique, so it must "relate to the development of Cabo Delgado itself. … I'm sure that Islamic State members had never ever heard of Mozambique until the found out about the insurgency" and IS only gained "some kind of ideological influence over the insurgency since 2019", two years after the insurgency started. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-africa-55430797

One year later: Montepuez River bridge replaced

Exactly one year after it was washed out in floods, a replacement for the key bridge on the N380 over the Montepuez River, near Bilibiza, was opened by President Filipe Nyusi on Monday (28 Dec). The N380 is the only paved road from Pemba to the gas project in Palma.

The bridge dated from colonial times and had survived earlier floods. But apparently it had not been maintained, despite its importance, and in the floods in December 2019 several bridge piers were washed away. The new structure is a 225 metre long, Chinese-made metal bridge, installed by the Chinese contractor CRB. The $11 mn cost was paid by the government from its Road Fund. (O Pais 29 Dec)

Butt the N380 north of the bridge is largely under insurgent control. The bridge will make it easier to move heavy military equipment and supplies up the main road. The only alternative route via Montepuez, Mueda, and Nagade to Palma is a dirt road which is largely impassable in the rainy season, which has now started, and in Nangade is under insurgent attack.

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