Floods in Mozambique: update (cheias em Moçambique – actualização)

3 Jan: At least 8 die in Mozambique rainstorms (Reuters)

At least eight people died after heavy rain swept Mozambique and left about 1,700 families homeless, destroying roads and other infrastructure, a disaster management official said on Tuesday.

Radio Mozambique said 13 people had died in rainstorms over the last week in the central and northern regions of the country but disaster authorities contacted by Reuters could only confirm eight deaths. Officials were watching water levels in Mozambique’s major rivers after the Pungue river rose to 6.27 metres, just below the 7-metre flood alarm level, Mozambique Disaster Management spokesman Rogerio Manguele said.

31 Dec: Heavy rains continue in central mozambique (inkundla.net)

Torrential rains are continuing in central Mozambique and have isolated the districts of Buzi and Chemba from the rest of the country, Radio Mozambique reported on Friday.

The road from the town of Buzi to Tica, on the Beira- Zimbabwe highway, is impassable – and indeed the Beira-Zimbabwe road itself is under threat.

3 Jan: At least 8 die in Mozambique rainstorms (Reuters)

At least eight people died after heavy rain swept Mozambique and left about 1,700 families homeless, destroying roads and other infrastructure, a disaster management official said on Tuesday.

Radio Mozambique said 13 people had died in rainstorms over the last week in the central and northern regions of the country but disaster authorities contacted by Reuters could only confirm eight deaths. Officials were watching water levels in Mozambique’s major rivers after the Pungue river rose to 6.27 metres, just below the 7-metre flood alarm level, Mozambique Disaster Management spokesman Rogerio Manguele said.

“The situation due to continued rains is worrisome. Our access links and the houses used by most of the population cannot resist the bad weather,” he said. Mozambique weather services predicted rain would continue to fall over the next four days, although with decreasing strength. Meteorologists have forecast normal to above-normal levels of rainfall in central and northern Mozambique through the end of the rainy season in March, while the southern part of the country was expected to see normal to below-normal rain. “If rain continues to fall we will have some problems. There will be people isolated,” Manguele said, noting that the rainy months coincide with the tropical cyclone season in the country. In 2000, devastating floods in Mozambique killed an estimated 700 people and made up to 500,000 homeless. “It seems that people have forgotten what happened a few years ago with the 2000 floods regarding the imminent risk,” he said.

31 Dec: Heavy rains continue in central mozambique (inkundla.net)

Torrential rains are continuing in central Mozambique and have isolated the districts of Buzi and Chemba from the rest of the country, Radio Mozambique reported on Friday.

The road from the town of Buzi to Tica, on the Beira- Zimbabwe highway, is impassable – and indeed the Beira-Zimbabwe road itself is under threat.

31 Dec: Heavy rains continue in central mozambique (inkundla.net)

Torrential rains are continuing in central Mozambique and have isolated the districts of Buzi and Chemba from the rest of the country, Radio Mozambique reported on Friday.

The road from the town of Buzi to Tica, on the Beira- Zimbabwe highway, is impassable – and indeed the Beira-Zimbabwe road itself is under threat.

9 Dec: First floods, now drought (Mail & Guardian, S.A.)

Mozambique has to develop a more systematic response to chronic drought, which is having a devastating effect on the food security and livelihoods of around 800 000 people, according to a recent assessment.The government, with help from bilateral partners, the United Nations and NGOs, has been carrying out relief operations, including distributing food aid to 257 000 drought-affected people, and plans to expand the number to 534 000 this month.

About 127 water points in six provinces are being rehabilitated or constructed, and water has been trucked in for 22 000 people.

The Ministry of Health, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN children’s fund (Unicef) have also prepared an integrated supplementary feeding programme to support up to 10 000 malnourished children.

But the development of medium- to long-term strategies to adapt to drought conditions was key to addressing the problem in future, said Peter Vandor, country representative for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Mozambique.

“Water resources are drying up, people are walking further with their livestock in search of water,” he noted.

Although people in the drought-prone provinces had developed methods of coping, Vandor commented that “it has not been done in a systematic way”, and years of little or no rainfall had steadily eroded their ability to withstand shocks.

As a result, chronic malnutrition, especially among children, and the impact of HIV/Aids — now officially at over 16,2% prevalence in adults — has taken a toll on lives and livelihoods.

Family incomes have also fallen, as many men who traditionally worked as migrant labour in South African mines have been retrenched.

The government and UN system in Mozambique noted at a recent development meeting that although there was a need to alleviate the short-term effects of food insecurity and lack of water, medium- and longer-term interventions were needed.

Mozambique has experienced a major drought in three of the last four years.

The Limpopo basin area, covering the southern and central provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica and Sofala, usually has a short rainfall season, with 75% of annual precipitation concentrated between January and March. This often leads to floods, as witnessed dramatically in early 2000 when around 700 people lost their lives.

While there are many interventions that can be introduced to better cope with drought, it was becoming increasingly clear that water management was a key factor.

Besides the lack of rain during most of the year, salinity was a major problem in the Limpopo basin, with much of the groundwater too salty for human and animal consumption or food production.

Vandor said there had to be a more creative but systematic way to conserve potable water and cited the example of the Atlantic Ocean island of Cape Verde, where it was law that all public buildings had to be built with rainwater collection structures on their rooftops. This could be replicated in drought-affected provinces in Mozambique, and communities could be encouraged to construct earth dams and build low-cost irrigation schemes.

The country should also review the use and management of its international rivers with its neighbours.

“Mozambique is the last country to use these waters, and we’re not getting the full benefits, we’re getting floods,” said Vandor.

There was also a need to upgrade livestock agriculture in arid rural regions, for example, by building more hygienic slaughterhouses and improving veterinary inspections.

Vandor pointed out that the tourist lodges mushrooming along the beautiful coastline of the drought-prone provinces were importing quality meat at high prices from South Africa. If the quality of livestock farming was raised, the money spent by lodges could be supporting the local economy instead. — Irin

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