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Photo: Pinnacle News
Torrential rain during more than two weeks has cut off northern Cabo Delgado, while the civil war continues.
The main – and only reasonable – road from Pemba north to the gas developments of Palma runs through Macomia to Mocimboa da Praia. But on 28 December flood waters washed out pillars causing several sections of a major bridge over the Montepuez river in Quissanga district to collapse. Two days later the rains also washed out a bridge over the Messalo river on the same road, in Muidumbe district.
The normal distance from Pemba to Palma by the washed out bridge is 400 km. The only route open at the moment goes a long way inland via Montepuez and Mueda; it is 600 km long of which 200 km is dirt, and is passible only by large 4X4 vehicles. Attempts are being made to bypass the Montepuez river bridge but that will take at least two more weeks.
Palma airport has re-opened and at least three companies are offering flights between Pemba and Palma.
Flooding on the Messalo river also swept away a pylon on the electricity transmission line running from Macomia to Ouasse on Monday (13 Jan). Power to the districts of Muidumbe, Nangade, Mueda, Mocimboa da Praia and Palma was cut and is unlikely to be restored until Tuesday. (Noticias 16 Jan)
The EDM northern director of transmission, Felisberto Uissitomo, said the material and equipment needed to cross the swollen Messalo has been mobilised. Vehicles cannot reach the site of the fallen pylon. All the cables and other equipment needed must be carried on porters’ heads for about ten kilometres. There are also security concerns as the site is within an area that has been affected by insurgent raids.
Guerrillas last week attacked a Land Cruiser near Chapa village in Mueda district on the road from Mueda town to Montepuez – the only open road from Pemba to Palma. (Carta de Mocambique 17 Jan)
No one was killed or injured in the attack, which was carried out by people wearing police uniforms, believed to have been stolen. This is the second attack in Mueda district; the first occurred in November in Nastengi village.
Last week’s attackers are thought to be the same group which, a few days before, attacked Magaia village in Muidumbe district.
Meanwhile three members of the defence and security forces in Mucojo administrative post, Macomia district were arrested by police. They are accused of stealing goods from local shops last Sunday, and of vandalising three stalls.
By Joseph HanlonSource: News reports & clippings
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