Seven dead, thousands affected by severe flooding in southern Mozambique

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Heavy rainfall affecting southern Mozambique since February 8, 2023, has caused widespread flooding, particularly in the capital Maputo and the rest of Maputo Province. The National Institute for Disaster Management has reported seven deaths and two injuries, as well as significant material damage to homes, health centers, schools, and agricultural land.

Southern Mozambique has been hit hard by heavy rainfall in recent days, with Maputo City experiencing the worst of the flooding.

According to figures from the World Meteorological Organization, more than 400 mm (15.75 inches) of rain was recorded at the weather station in Mavalane in Maputo in 24 hours ending on February 8, 2023. The heavy rainfall has caused rivers upstream in South Africa and Eswatini to overflow and flood the Maputo, Incomati, and Umbelúzi river systems in areas of Maputo province. In response, authorities have begun releasing water from the Pequenos Libombos dam, which has reached capacity.

The National Institute for Disaster Management (INGD) has reported that seven people have lost their lives and two others have been injured due to the flood. The heavy rainfall has had a significant impact on the local population, with over 36 770 individuals affected, including nearly 20 000 residents in Maputo City.

The material damage from the floods has been extensive, with 7 365 damaged homes, 15 health centers, and 15 schools.

The agricultural sector has also been heavily impacted, with 17 740 ha (43 636 acres) of agricultural land being flooded. This has had a significant effect on the provision of food in the area, causing concern among local residents.

In addition, 83 boats are missing and 270 km (168 miles) of roads and paths and impassable.

On February 13, INGD reported that 1 403 people stranded in Boane, Magude and Moamba districts in Maputo province have been evacuated.

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Image credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-9. Acquired at 12:00 UTC on February 10, 2023

In partnership with the Matola and Boane Municipal Councils, INGD is working to provide food and non-food assistance at accommodation centers. The institute is also working to prevent water-borne diseases by providing chlorine and promoting safety measures in critical areas. This effort is being supported by the health, public works, housing, and water resources departments.

In response to the crisis, the World Food Programme has requested the activation of the Copernicus Emergency Management System in rapid mapping mode (EMSR650). This will support the national authorities’ emergency response by providing a damage assessment of the affected areas in Maputo province. The system is expected to provide valuable information to the local authorities, helping them to respond effectively to the needs of the affected communities.

In the coming days, light to moderate rainfall is forecast over most of Mozambique, while moderate to locally heavy rainfall is expected over Manica Province in central-western Mozambique.

References:

1 Mozambique floods – DG Echo – February 13, 2023

2 Mozambique – 6 Dead as Floods Worsen in Maputo Province – Floodlist – February 13, 2023

Featured image credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-9

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