(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Floods force evacuation

Up to 300,000 people in river communities throughout central Mozambique were affected by flooding in early 2008. After the flood waters receded, 51-year-old Manuel Fanso moved back to the river to fish.
Tomas de Mul/IRIN

Mozambique's National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) has raised the flood alert level to "red" and some 130,000 people living along three main rivers in central Mozambique are at risk of possible floods and need to be moved.



"Teams are already evacuating people," Casimo Sande, Acting UN Emergency Coordination Support Officer, told IRIN. Weeks of torrential rains have swollen the Zambezi, Pungue and Buzi rivers in the central provinces of Tete, Manica, Sofala and Zambezia.



Sande said government agencies, NGOs, the Mozambican Red Cross, UN agencies and the local Civil Protection Unit, UNAPROC, were assisting affected communities, and assessments of the damage were underway. The National Water Board (DNA) warned of floods in central Mozambique on 2 March.



Mozambique is flood-prone: in 2000 and 2001 over 800 people were killed and hundreds of thousands left homeless. Up to 300,000 people in river communities throughout central Mozambique were affected by flooding in early 2008, when 29 people died.



The government resettled entire communities when the recurring floods caused hundreds of deaths and the displacement of many thousands almost every year, particularly at the onset of the rainy season. This year a drought in the resettlement areas lured thousands back to the fertile flood plains and river banks.



More sluice gates on Mozambique's biggest dam, the Cahora Bassa, were opened to ease pressure on the structure, and rains in the region eased off during the past week. According to Sande, "In terms of water level trend, the situation has improved."



tdm/he

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