Mozambique expects more damages from floods

JOHANNESBURG. – Extreme rainfall in the southern parts of Mozambique and neighbouring countries on the south over the past two weeks sparked a red alert for flash and lingering floods throughout Mozambique.

The situation in Maputo is particularly worrying due to the heavy rains in South Africa and Eswatini, and the massive water flows that rivers from those countries are producing.

In the past two weeks, Maputo has experienced structural damage, and aid agencies estimate that “at least 39 225 people (7 845 families) have reportedly been affected, including 14 792 people displaced”.

Nine deaths were reported.

The National Institute of Meteorology issued a warning that Mozambique could see an additional 10 days of heavy rain and wind.

As a result, according to estimates from the authorities, weather conditions and water releases from dams further upstream might have an impact on 53 000 people overall.

Partners in humanitarian work are keeping an eye on the situation and preparing to help the government.

The rainy or cyclonic season in Mozambique began in October last year, which is the estimated beginning of the rainy season in the region.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), since October last year, there has been a total of 89 029 people (16 304 families) affected, 101 injuries and 93 deaths, across Mozambique.

OCHA added that a reported 1 180 homes were completely demolished, 3 318 were partially destroyed, and 11 493 were flooded.

There were numerous reports of damage to public services and infrastructure, including 3 489km of highways, 36 power poles, 328 schools, and 18 healthcare facilities.

Mozambique’s regional water administration (ARA) on Wednesday called for the evacuation of people, livestock and valuables as a precautionary measure, given the “continuation of high flows coming from the upstream countries, considering the filling level of the main dams in the southern region of the country, and to mitigate flooding and guarantee the integrity of the infrastructures”.

ARA said the Corumana Dam, on the River Sabie, an irrigation and hydroelectric facility, will “increase discharges from the current 500m3/s to 800m3/s”.

This would affect highway traffic in the area and make human settlements unsafe.

The Massingir Dam, in Gaza province, will increase outflows from 500m3/s to about a thousand cubic metres and, with the discharges “associated with the outflow of the Limpopo River and its tributaries, the downstream stations, including the Chókwè, will exceed the alert level in the next 48–72 hours, possibly flooding the lowlands, restricting access on the road sections”, ARA said.

On Sunday, the government said damage to infrastructure would be assessed after the floods. –

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