Floods cut main road in two places

Floods cut main road in two places

via Floods cut main road in two places The Zimbabwean 15 January 2015

Mozambique’s main north-south highway (EN1) is now cut in two places in Zambezia province, where bridges have collapsed in the current flooding, thus making overland transport from the northern provinces to the centre and south impossible.

At the town of Mocuba, a massive flood on the Licungo river has overwhelmed the bridge carrying ENI across the river. A crew from the independent television station STV filmed the raging Licungo as it destroyed part of the bridge on Tuesday.

These are the worst floods on the Licungo since 1971. On Monday the river was flowing through Mocuba at a rate of 6,500 cubic metres a second. It is impossible to judge whether it rose much higher, since the measuring equipment was then submerged.

Queues of vehicles have built up at either end of the damaged bridge. Of particular concern is the fate of passengers on buses that had been heading from the north towards Beira. They have been forced to sleep for two nights on board the buses and are running out of food and money. Boats have been sent to the area, but the Licungo is flowing so rapidly that it is impossible to use them.

Further north, ENI has also been cut at the boundary between Mocuba and Ile districts, where the bridge over the Namilate river has collapsed.

About 19,000 households have been displaced by the floods in Mocuba. So far the relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) has opened six accommodation centres in Mocuba, which are now caring for 2,312 people.

The districts of Namacurra and Maganja da Costa, on the lower Licungo, are on maximum alert, as the flood surge moves towards the coast. There are reports of flooded areas near the river banks, but the INGC is optimistic that the early warning system has worked, and that people who were in danger managed to reach higher ground in time.

In Niassa province, the rains have isolated the city of Cuamba from the rest of the country, and have cut the railway between Nampula and Cuamba. All the roads out of Cuamba – to Lichinga, Nampula and Gurue are currently impassable.

The Zambezi river has risen beyond flood alert level on its middle and lower stretches, and several roads in the Zambezi basin have also become impassable.

The weather forecast is ominous. The National Meteorology Institute (INAM) warned on Tuesday that heavy rains and thunderstorms are likely to continue across parts of central and northern Mozambique.

Coastal parts of Nampula will be among the areas worst affected, but the rains will also hit Nampula city, most districts in Zambezia, western Tete, northern Sofala, and much of Niassa.

INAM urged citizens to take “precautionary and safety measures, given the risks associated with lightning, very heavy rains and moderate to strong winds”.