Floods in Mozambique leave 11 dead, up to 15 000 homes destroyed


Heavy rain affecting Mozambique since January 7, 2018 left a trail of destruction, at least 11 people dead and more than 75 000 affected. Up to 15 000 homes have been destroyed in the worst-hit province of Nampula.

The first reports of trouble started coming in on Monday, January 7 into 8, when heavy rains struck capital Maputo, disrupting rail traffic along the line from South Africa to the capital. The rains opened a crater under the track on a stretch of line between Machava and Infulene stations, forcing a train loaded with crome to interrupt its journey to Maputo. The crater was filled and traffic restored late January 8. The storms caused severe damage in several flood-prone areas.

"While nobody died in Monday's storms, there has been a lot of material damage," Yolanda Manuel, Maputo's Councillor for Health and Social Welfare said.

The storm was followed by a tropical depression that affected northern Mozambique, especially the districts of Mozambique Island, Nacaroa and Mossuril in Nampula province, on January 15, leaving all three districts without power. The storm produced over 200 mm (7.8 inches) of rain in 24 hours and wind gusts of up to 85 km/h (52.8 mph).

EDM power company said the storm knocked down 42 pylons, cutting off power for about 22 000 homes.

AllAfrica reported that the same storm system completely filled the Nacala dam, which provides the drinking water for Nacala port. Authorities had to discharge the water from the dam, threatening to flood downstream communities – Muerete, Muzinho, Mpaco, Monuco and Sanhute.

The National Directorate of Water Resource Management (DNGHR) said that the depression also flooded the Megaruma River basin in Cabo Delgado province, partly inundating the villages of Natuco and Milapane, and threatening the roads between Chiure and the districts of Mecufi and Ancuabe. 

From January to 19, the city of Nampula saw over 450 mm (17.7 inches) and similar amounts were recorded across the province as well as in provinces of Niassa and Cabo Delgado.

DNGHR said that as of January 19, the Messalo, Megaruma and Monapo rivers all burst their banks.

At least 9 people died in Nampula, the worst-hit province where mud and flood waters exceeded 1.5 m (4.9 feet). Between 7 000 and 15 000 homes have been destroyed.

In Cabo Delgado, more than 1 000 families have been left homeless after the total or partial destruction of their homes. Authorities said the storm has also left a trail of destruction across 1 500 hectares (3 706 acres) of farm plots and seven national and regional roads.

Featured image: Floods in Mapula – January 2018. Credit: Verdade.co.mz


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