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About 62,000 people could be affected by flooding in the next week in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.
According to a report on the independent television station STV, three rivers in Cabo Delgado have risen past the flood alert level – the Messalo, the Megaruma and the Montepuez.
A crucial bridge over the Montepuez has collapsed, cutting off the northern seven districts of Cabo Delgado from the rest of the province. The pillars of the bridge collapsed fell after 129 millimetres of rain fell in 24 hours.
When the bridge was swept away dozens of people were left stranded on the south bank, without food, water or shelter. One group told STV that they walked through the pouring rain to a nearby village, where local residents gave them food and water.
There is an unconfirmed report that one person tried to wade or swim across the swollen river, but was dragged away by the raging torrent.
Heavy rain is expected to continue in Cabo Delgado into the New Year. The government is considering using boats or aircraft to reach communities cut off by the bridge collapse.
Torrential rain also affected Nampula, Zambezia and Tete provinces. In the second largest city in Nampula, the port of Nacala, the rains turned roads into roaring torrents, sweeping vehicles away and threatening to drown anyone unwise enough to attempt to cross the roads.
Nacala was already notorious for its poor drainage and its massive erosion, which has cut ravines through the city, phenomena that will certainly be worsened by the current storms.
Warnings have also been issued about possible flooding on the Licungo river, in Zambezia, and on the Revobue, a major tributary of the Zambezi in Tete.
One bright spot is that most of the dams in northern and central Mozambique are nowhere near full. According to hydrological data given to Saturday’s emergency meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, the Chipembe dam, in the Montepuez basin, is 55 per cent full, and the Nacala dam is 82 per cent full.
The reservoir behind the Cahora Bassa dam, on the Zambezi, is 72 per cent full. Thus there seems to be little chance of a major flood on the Zambezi in the near future.
Ironically, the south of the country is still suffering from a water shortage. The Corumana and Pequenos Libombos reservoirs, which are critical for Greater Maputo’s water supply, are 26 and 27 per cent full respectively.Source: AIM
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