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Severe flooding leaves thousands homeless

Thousands of people have been forced out of their homes due to heavy flooding in southern Mozambique, officials said on Tuesday. Joao Manga of the national agricultural directorate told IRIN there was particular concern for areas of Gaza province, where incessant rainfall since November had cut off the towns of Massangena and Chigubo. He said the provincial directorate had been unable to deliver seeds to the towns, which are classified as “very vulnerable” in food security terms. The situation was worse this year as the severe rainfall had disrupted coping mechanisms whereby the towns are usually able to link up with more productive regions. Manga also said farmers further north in the Beira region could face difficulties later this month if the rain continues. Farmers around the Pungoe river, which has burst its banks, are already in trouble and likely to lose their crops. The magnitude of the problem was not yet known, but the area had been lashed by heavy rain for the third year in a row and there was a small degree of preparedness. Affected families were generally housed on higher ground by the local community, Manga said. A crop and food needs assessment mission is due to visit affected areas in two weeks’ time.
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