Mozambique: Búzi floods destroy crops in eight villages, three killed

The Sofala delegate at the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGD) said that 1,256 families had been affected to date. “This flood wave caused eight injuries and three deaths from lightning strikes.”[ Photo: Moz News]

At least eight villages in Búzi district, Sofala province, have seen their agricultural fields flooded since Monday, with around 1,748 hectares of crops submerged by the rising Buzi river, and 195 families affected.

The same areas and populations were severely affected in 2019 by the floods accompanying Cyclone Idai, and the present situation comes as a new cyclone is expected to make landfall in Mozambique this weekend.

A preliminary assessment indicates that two villages, Chiro and Mburiquizi, near the lower Búzi River, whose flow peaked on Saturday, saw 1,650 hectares of rice and corn plantations inundated.

On Tuesday, January 19, a further 98 hectares of crops were flooded in Estaquinha, Mupira, Mussenemo, Tchindo and Grudja (Chirere), district secretary Sérgio Costa said.

“From the monitoring work we did, the water had dropped considerably in the morning, but shortly afterwards, the river’s flow rose apace,” he said. “The situation is becoming worrying.”

Heavy rains have been falling since last week, adding to controlled discharges from the Chicamba and Mavuzi dams in Manica.

“The number of submerged agricultural fields keeps increasing, as information from monitoring arrives,” Costa said, adding that authorities are urging the population to “urgently” vacate at-risk areas.

Currently, he said, some peasant families have lost either housing or crops, while others have lost both. A survey is underway to direct support.

The Búzi district government had increased the number of rescue boats from five to seven, one of which was made available by the Sofala maritime administration, to “respond to emergencies which may arise” during the rainy season.

Meanwhile, the INGD delegate in Sofala Teixeira Almeida said that 1,256 families had been affected to date by the floods in Búzi and Nhamatanda districts.

“Recent floods have caused eight injuries, and three deaths from lightning strikes,” Almeida said in a preliminary reckoning, adding that, in addition to agricultural fields, some social infrastructure had also been affected.

The regional water administration – ARA Centro – warned of a precipitate increase in the flow of many rivers in the central region of Mozambique following heavy rain on Monday, and urged people not to attempt crossing them.

Figures from the district anticipate that 5,165 families from the Búzi and Estaquinha administrative posts will be severely affected over this rainy season, peaking between February and March.

Source: Voa Portugues

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