Death toll from flooding in Mozambique has risen to 71

Death toll from flooding in Mozambique has risen to 71

The death toll from flooding in central and northern Mozambique has risen to 71 since January 12, 2015, National Institute of Disaster Management spokeswoman Rita Almeida said today.

According to preliminary data released by the government, 52 700 people have been affected by the current floods, including 31 200 people in Zambezia province and 15 400 in Nampula province. Of those, around 30 000 are being accommodated in 43 shelters.

The worst affected province is Zambezia, which has been badly hit after the Licungo river overflowed and claimed lives of 49 people.

Rescue operations, led by Government, are ongoing, although these are being hindered by persistent heavy rains, strong waves, overflowing rivers and damaged or blocked roads.

Air bridges have been established, meaning food and non-food items can now be dispatched to isolated areas, UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

In neighboring Malawi, which has also been hit by severe flooding, the number of displaced has risen to 200 000, officials said today. At least 176 people have lost their lives by January 17.

According to the forecast for January 18 to 24, 2015, Malawi and Mozambique will continue to experience heavy rainfall, particularly in the north, OCHA said.

Mozambique's deadliest floods in modern history occurred in February and March of 2000 when catastrophic flooding caused by heavy rainfall that lasted for five weeks killed an estimated 800 people. It was country's worst flooding since 1950 and their worst natural disaster in a century.

Featured image credit Qari Ziyaad Patel

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