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Maputo cut off by flood waters

Staff Reporter

Flood waters from the Incomati River have swept Mozambique's main north-south highway, cutting off Maputo from the north and centre of the country.

Flood waters of the Incomati River and its tributaries swept across Mozambique’s main north-south highway, cutting off Maputo from the north and centre of the country, it was reported on Monday.

The Incomati was swollen by torrential rains brought to southern Mozambique, Swaziland and parts of South Africa by tropical depression Dando on Monday and Tuesday, AIM reported.

Ten metres of road in 3rd February village, in Manhica district, north of Maputo was destroyed.

Maputo Governor Maria Jonas told reporters that staff from the National Road Administration was working to repair the road as quickly as possible.

“The atmosphere at the break in the road is one of great anxiety,” Jonas said.

Prone to flooding
The low-lying area is vulnerable to flooding and has been flooded several times.

Earlier, disaster relief officials said storms had forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and had killed 22 in Mozambique.

Mozambican state TV reported that 12 people had died on Sunday in the central province of Zambezia.

Ten deaths in southern areas had been reported earlier in the aftermath of Dando, which brought fierce rains and wind last week.

The storms had abated but Dulce Chilundo, director of the national emergency office, told Radio Mozambique that the government was feeding and housing more than 56 000 people whose homes and belongings were swept away.

Cut off
According to AIM, the governor of Gaza, Raimundo Diomba, said several schools in his southern province had been destroyed. Elsewhere, flooding made stretches of highway impassable.

Hundreds of vehicles formed long queues on either side of the break, waiting for the flow of traffic to be restored.

Parts of the fibre optic cable, operated by the state telecommunications company TDM, were destroyed. Fixed and mobile phone calls between Maputo and anywhere north of 3rd February were impossible.

TDM announced that it was working to repair the cable and to restore phone links as soon as possible.

The Movene River, in the Boane district south-west of Maputo, was also flooded and had cut off access to the Umbeluzi water treatment station, on which the capital’s water supply depended.

Here, the flood had damaged the main water pipe supplying Boane with its drinking water. About 70 000 people have lost their water supply.—Sapa

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