Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Floods wreck havoc in Southern Africa

"...Floods across southern Africa are wreaking havoc for tens of thousands of people caught by rising water that has washed away crops, homes and claimed the lives of dozens of people, the United Nations World Food Programme said on Friday (9th February 2007).

The worst flooding is in the central region of Mozambique. Persistent heavy rains in central and northern Mozambique and neighbouring Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe over the last three weeks have flooded the Zambezi, Chire and Rivubue rivers in Tete, Manica, Sofala and Zambezia provinces. The Lower Zambezi River in Mozambique, which is 800 kilometres long, has been above alert levels for nearly a week. ...+


The head of Mozambique's national relief agency INGC told Reuters around 27,000 people had been moved to accommodation centers from areas along the Zambezi river and around 41,000 more had no shelter after their homes were submerged.

Paulo Zucula said 280,000 people -- mostly poor rural folk who live in tiny mud huts and survive by growing vegetables and rearing goats and chickens -- would probably be forced from their homes this week as more rains swept the southern African country.

Experts fear the crisis could surpass the devastating floods of 2000 and 2001, which killed 700 people, displaced half a million and wrecked infrastructure.

"We expect more water than we had in 2001. ... The situation is deteriorating and it will get worse but this time we are better prepared than in 2001," Zucula said in an interview in Caia, one of the worst hit areas, some 1,400 kilometres (875 miles) north of the capital Maputo.

The floods, sparked when rains from neighboring Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi poured into the overflowing Cahora Bassa Dam, have killed 29 people and damaged thousands of homes and schools, mainly in the central Zambezia and Sofala provinces.

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