More than 1,000 people have fled low lying areas in Chidauachine in the southern Mozambican district of Chokwe, taking with them 2,500 head of cattle, in the face of an approaching flood surge down the Limpopo River.

On Monday the Limpopo burst its banks in Chokwe, and officials of the Mozambican relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), mobilized people to leave areas under threat and take refuge on higher ground.

Cited in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily, Noticias, the INGC Gaza Province delegate, Manuel Maxhlaieie, said the flood on the Limpopo had cut several Gaza roads, including between Chibuto and Guija, and between Canicado and Chicualacuala.

The flood had been predicted for the past week, and the rise in the Limpopo is caused by heavy rains upstream, in South Africa and Zimbabwe. People have been evacuated from 19 low lying localities in Guija, Chokwe, Chibuto and Xai-Xai districts.

In the central province of Sofala, the Pungoe river remains above flood alert level at the Mafambisse sugar plantation, but the level of the river is gradually dropping, according to Monday’s hydrological bulletin, issued by the National Directorate of Water Resources (DNRH).

Although the Buzi river, also in Sofala, is currently below alert level, it is on the rise again, and ferry services across the river, between Guara-Guara and Bandua, suspended in January, have not yet resumed.

In the far south, there is still no significant rise in the level of the Umbeluzi River, which provides the drinking water for the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area. The reservoir at the Pequenos Libombos Dam on the Umbeluzi is only 15.8 per cent full.

The dam is releasing water at the rate of 1.5 cubic metres a second, when, under normal circumstances, the discharge should be at least three cubic metres a second. There is thus no end in sight for the current water rationing in Maputo and Matola cities and the district of Boane, where each neighbourhood is only receiving water on alternate days.