MAPUTO� Mozambique’s National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) has started moving families living in dangerous stretches of the banks of the Save River, which is threatened with flooding because of torrential rains upstream in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

The level of the river at Vila Franca de Save, in Inhambane province, was measured at 6.02 metres on Sunday morning, well above the flood alert level, which is 5.5 metres.

The waters surging down the Save are threatening to inundate Nova Mambone, the capital of Govuro district. Fearing the worst, more than 400 households from the Nova Mambone neighbourhoods of Musassa and Massanga, planned to leave their homes on Sunday, media reports said.

The INGC representative in the region, Cesar Tembe, said conditions were being established in neighbourhoods on higher ground, and thus regarded as safe, to accommodate people leaving their houses. The INGC has also set up large tents in secure areas of the district capital.

The flood warning for Nova Mambone remains in force. The district-level Emergency Operational Centre (COE) has been strengthened with material and human resources for rescue and assistance operations. At any moment the Save river could burst its banks and cause damage, said Tembe.

On the northern bank of the Save River, the administrator of Machaze district, in Manica province, Fernando Samuel, said the river is threatening three localities, and 21 households have been evacuated.

In Machanga, in the neighbouring province of Sofala, some 2,500 people in Javane locality are isolated from Machanga town, and about 200 hectares of crops have been inundated.