Mozambique is More Accustomed to Cyclones, But Death and Damage are Huge

In Mozambique 165 people were killed and 120,000 people have been displaced. In Zambezia many areas are still flooded and people who fled by canoe cannot yet return. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops are underwater, and saltwater carried inland by the cyclone will damage fertile land after the flooding has subsided.

But Zitamar (24 March) in Quelimane notes that "lessons have been learnt since Idai in 2019. Accurate forecasting and an effective early warning system, both of which were lacking four years ago, saved countless lives." People in the low-lying city returned quickly and began rebuilding.

Parts of Quelimane still do not have running water. There is now a major cholera outbreak. Mozambique has received 1.7 million doses of vaccines against cholera, a disease that has so far killed 85 people among 17,646 cases diagnosed. According to the head of the surveillance department in the Ministry of Health, Domingos Guihole, the vaccines are destined for the central cities of Quelimane, Chimoio and Beira, and Marromeu district, on the south bank of the Zambezi.

Flash flooding washed out many roads and bridges, cutting the railway at three points: The two coal exports routes were cut at Doa in Tete on the Beira line (see photo) which will take at least two more weeks to repair, and near the Malawi border on the Nacala line. The third cut is on the line from Cuamba to Lichinga. 20,000 km of roads have been affected, 4000 critically.

Electricity will only be restored to all of Quelimane next week. It will take much longer to reach Macuse; on that line 150 pylons were knocked down. The chairperson of the EDM Board of Directors, Marcelino Alberto, estimates damage to the electricity system by Freddy at $10 mn.

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