MAPUTO– The storms which have lashed much of Mozambique, particularly the northern provinces, since the start of the current rainy season last October have caused 50 deaths so far, and have affected about 130,000 people, says the spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), Paulo Tomas.

The storms have destroyed 7,268 houses and damaged 14,493 others. Schools were also affected, with 201 classrooms destroyed and 465 damaged. 17 health units and four water supply systems were also damaged in the storms, he adds.

As for the heavy rains over the past ten days, Tomas said these had destroyed 111 houses and flooded a further 3,776. Despite some spectacular storms over Maputo city, Tomas said that the rainfall in southern Mozambique was not abnormal for this time of year.

The torrential rains in Maputo before dawn on Monday morning caused part of the gigantic rubbish dump in the neighbourhood of Hulene to collapse, destroying seven houses and claiming 18 lives.

Tomas said the INGC was assisting 103 households who had left their houses located in the shadow of the Hulene dump and are now living in the accommodation centre set up by the Municipal Council in the Ferroviario neighbourhood.

In addition to food aid, the INGC has provided the people displaced from Hulene with tents, mats, mosquito nets, tarpaulins, mobile toilets, tanks of water, buckets and soap.

In the neighbouring city of Matola, Tomas added, the INGC planned to set up three accommodation centres to care for people whose houses are still flooded. These families will receive food aid, shelter kits and other resources to guarantee their well-being,” he said.

Tomas urged the public to take preventive measures, since rains are likely to continue over much of the country for the next fortnight. He warned of the possibility of flooding in the last week of February in several major cities, including Maputo, Matola and Beira.

In early March, moderate rain is expected in the south, and heavy rains in parts of Nampula, Sofala and Manica provinces, where some areas could expect up to 300 millimetres of rain in a week.