More than a thousand people in the town of Nova Mambone, capital of Govuro district, in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, have been displaced from their homes because of flooding from the overflowing Save River.

The torrential rains falling in the Save River basin, both in Mozambique and in Zimbabwe, have swollen the river dramatically.

Victims of the floods say the Save burst its banks on Thursday night, and the water poured into the Nova Mambone neighbourhood of Mussassa. The river’s water level rose so rapidly that the residents had no chance to save their possessions, but fled in search of shelter on higher ground.

The government relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), says about 6,000 people could be affected by the floods. INGC staff have been trying to persuade people to leave their homes now threatened by the river.

Two centres have been opened to accommodate those displaced but even the INGC misjudged the rise of the river since the centre opened in Genda neighbourhood had to be abandoned, for it too was swamped by the rising waters. The people taken there had to be moved to the second centre, at Doane.

People who had accepted the advice to leave the areas at risk of flooding and go to the accommodation centres are now complaining that there is not enough food for them in the centres.

INGC general director Joao Machatine says the INGC is making efforts to provide basic supplies to the displaced families. He urged those residents of Govuru living in safe areas to show solidarity with the flood victims and complement the government’s efforts.