Africa

Triplets born on island amid Mozambique floods

Staff Reporter

In an incident recalling the birth of a baby in a tree during floods in 2000, a woman in Mozambique was rescued after giving birth to triplets on a flooded islet in the Zambezi River. Maria Jose (37) was rescued by emergency services on January 30 from a small island in the Zambezi around Mutarara district.

In an incident recalling the famous birth of a baby in a tree during floods in 2000, a woman in Mozambique was rescued after giving birth to triplets on a flooded islet in the Zambezi River, local media reported on Thursday.

Maria Jose (37) was rescued by emergency services on January 30 from a small island in the Zambezi around Mutarara district, Tete province, days after giving birth to a boy and two girls, Radio Mozambique and the Noticias daily said.

She was weak and had lost a lot of blood after giving birth without medical assistance or medication, she told reporters.

Jose, who has three other children, was taken with other evacuees to a resettlement camp and from there flown by helicopter to the town of Caia, Sofala province, where she received medical assistance for the first time a week after giving birth.

Doctors said both the mother and newborns were in good health.

The case brought back memories of the helicopter rescue of a mother and her newborn baby Rosita from a treetop in Gaza province during heavy floods in 2000.

Floods caused by unusually heavy seasonal rains that year and the next killed about 700 people and displaced around 500 000.

Heavier floods

This year’s floods in central Mozambique are expected to be even heavier, although far less deadly given the quick intervention by the state to evacuate over 100 000 people from flood-prone areas before the rains peak later this month.

Parts of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia have also been plagued by floods that have claimed over 50 lives in the region since December.

The Namibian newspaper on Thursday quoted police as saying 13 people had been swept away by floodwaters in the north-central region.

Elsewhere, 31 have died in Zimbabwe, six each in Zambia and Malawi and over a dozen in Mozambique.

Mozambique, usually the worst hit of Southern African countries, is now bracing for a fresh surge along the Zambezi from Monday when Zambia opens the floodgates on the Kariba Dam upriver on its border with Zimbabwe.

The operators of the dam say they are forced to release water for fear it could burst after being swelled by rains.

Mozambique’s disaster management agency INGC has warned it will stop searching for stranded people when the dam is opened and focus on reconstruction and development on higher land, where it is aims to resettle riverbank dwellers permanently.

The INGC has in recent weeks expressed frustration over flood evacuees slipping back home to tend to crops and livestock before the waters recede.

Namibia also fears further heavy flooding in northern areas bordering Angola.

“There is a danger of serious flooding,” said Clemens Kshuupulwa the governor of northern Oshana, Namibia’s second most populous region.

“The water has reached Ondjiva [the capital of Angola’s southern Cunene province] and is expected to reach us in a day or two.”

Residents of parts of the town of Oshakati had already been evacuated as the level of the Kunene River that forms a natural border between Angola and Namibia rose rapidly, he said. ‒ Sapa-DPA

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