Maputo — Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario on Monday urged households living in flood-prone areas to move to safer areas, and thus avoid possible loss of life, and damage to their property.
Rosario was speaking during a visit to Guara-Guara locality, in Buzi district, in the central province of Sofala. Much of Buzi town is currently under water. The Buzi river burst its banks last week, and this initial flooding was then made much worse by Cyclone Eloise, which struck on Saturday morning.
Rosario spoke with people who had been evacuated from Buzi town to Guara-Guara, and warned "every year it will be the same thing", with families driven from their homes because of flooding. Conditions had to be established in safer areas, he stressed, where people could farm, and could have access to all they needed to live.
The Prime Minister said he had come to assess the impact of the floods on Buzi, and announced that the government will continue to provide basic conditions so that the people of this district can undertake their activities in safe area.
"We don't want to come back here every year, and we don't want to lose human lives", declared Rosario.
He urged the local authorities to demarcate plots of land so that the people who have fled from Buzi town can build new houses in Guara-Guara.
Rosario also visited an accommodation centre in Beira, for people who had lost their homes when the cyclone hit. They asked him for land where they could build new homes and plant crops.
The total number of people affected by Eloise is now put at 176,000 in four provinces (Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Inhambane).
According to Beira Municipal Council, eight people died during the cyclone, but the national relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGD), has only confirmed six.
In the four provinces, 65 classrooms were destroyed, which will make it difficult, if not impossible, for many pupils to sit seventh grade exams scheduled for this week.
2,342 houses were destroyed in the storm, and a further 4,000 were damaged.
Further south, the river Save, which marks the conventional boundary between Sofala and Inhambane provinces, has burst its banks, and flooded the Sofala town of Machanga, The INGD says that 800 families have been displaced, and 130 houses are submerged.
The flood forced the closure of the Machanga health centre, and patients had to be transferred to the local registry office which stands on higher ground. Communications are cut, and the only way to leave the town is by boat.
The river has also submerged part of the town of Nova Mambone, capital of Govuro district, on the Inhambane bank of the Save.
There is also a risk of flooding in Maputo province, where the Incomati river has risen sharply due to heavy rains in neighbouring South Africa and Eswatini.
On Monday afternoon, at Ressano Garcia, on the border with South Africa, the river was only 30 centimetres below flood alert level. The local authorities have warned communities living along the banks of the river to take protective measures against an impending flood.