Mozambicans forcefully evacuated as flood fears mount
Mozambican authorities are forcefully moving people away from flood risk areas along the Limpopo Valley, in the southern province of Gaza, it was reported on Wednesday.
The operation began on Sunday in the districts of Chokwe and Guija to prevent drowning in floods caused by discharges from the Massingir dam, AIM reported.
There is already flooding in Macarretane and Chilembene, in the Gaza province.
Many people living in the area have refused to leave their homes, fearing thieves might take advantage of the situation.
National Disaster Management Institute spokesperson Manuel Machaieie told Radio Mozambique that more than 100 families had been forcibly evacuated in the last few days, AIM reported.
“We have deployed soldiers and marines to assist with the compulsory evacuation because people refused to leave the area,” he said.
“In Guija we are assisted by the police to help us evacuate those who insist on staying in flood risk areas where they have grown their crops.”
He noted that some residents had moved to higher ground where they built houses last year under a government resettlement programme.
AIM reported that it was estimated that more than 2 000 hectares of crops had been flooded within the irrigated perimeter of Chokwe.
In Macarretane, the river had burst its banks and the flood waters had inundated a sugar cane plantation and other crops.
At least three people, a woman and two children, were reported missing in Guija after being swept away by the waters of the Limpopo River on Sunday, according to AIM reports.
Meanwhile, the provincial director of Public Works in Gaza, Jose Mahumane, said there was no danger of the main north-south highway (EN1) being cut by flood waters in the town of Macie, in the district of Bilene.
On Monday, disaster relief officials said storms in Mozambique had killed 22 people and forced tens of thousands from their homes.—Sapa. .