Screen grab: Miramar
About 22,000 people have been isolated by the rising waters of the Umbeluzi River, which submerged a passage (‘drift’) for people and vehicles connecting eight neighbourhoods to the village of Boane in Maputo province, an official source has said.
The ‘drift’ was submerged following the rise in flow resulting from rain in the region, leading the authorities to allocate boats for the crossing.
“The INGD [National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction] yesterday secured another vessel, because we already had one in operation last week [when the passage was first submerged],” said Isália Malia, director of public works in Maputo province and quoted by Televisão de Moçambique.
According to Malia, the vessel was allocated after the announcement of the increase, from 60 to 120 cubic metres, in discharges at the Pequenos Libombos dam.
Malia acknowledged that the problem was recurrent in the region during the rainy season, due to the poor state of the watercourse, adding that she was in talks with the central government regarding possible solutions.
The drift is “very low, which is why it is constantly submerged”, she acknowledged.
The Mozambican authorities have reported the interruption of access roads throughout the country following rains and discharges from dams, a recurring problem in the country.
In Tete province, central Mozambique, communications between the administrative post of Mucumbura and M’phende are interrupted by a 20-metre wash-out of Regional Road 601.
“This is the result of the rain in recent days. On Sunday, we had about 120 millimetres of precipitation,” Magoe district administrator Tito Sithoe said.
According to the authorities, upon arrival at the site, residents are forced to disembark and cross the section on foot before catching another bus.
“Unfortunately, in order to communicate with all administrative posts, we have to cross this bridge. Mucumbura is one of the most productive areas, feeding the headquarters with various products,” the administrator commented ruefully.
At least 10 people have died, and a further 47,493 have been affected by rains, strong winds and other natural disasters in Mozambique in the current rainy season, according to an INGD report.
Mozambique is in the middle of its rain and cyclone season, which occurs annually between October and March, with storms coming in from the Indian Ocean and floods originating in the southern African watersheds.
The Mozambican coast could be hit by an above-average number of cyclones in the rainy season, according to a FEWS – Early Hunger Alert Network summary consulted by Lusa in December.
A total of 96 people died due to cyclones and other natural disasters in Mozambique in the last rainy season, according to official figures.
The 2018/2019 rainy season was one of the most severe in memory. Seven hundred and fourteen people died, including 648 victims of two of the biggest cyclones ever to hit the country (Idai and Kenneth).
Source: Lusa / Miramar