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Sunday, 31 December, 2000, 11:28 GMT
Mozambique braces for floods
Flood victims in Mozambique
Fears are growing that the floods will return
By Greg Barrow in Mozambique

The Mozambican Government is bracing itself for the possibility of more flooding as the rainy season in southern Africa gets underway.

Mozambique Prime Minister, Pascoal Mocumbi
Prime Minister Mocumbi: Waiting with trepidation
It is barely a year since devastating floods swept over southern Mozambique, leaving a trail of destruction and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Much has been done during the dry season to reconstruct the roads, bridges and buildings that were destroyed.

But there are fears that all of this could be swept away again if the rivers of the region burst their banks in the New Year.

Crops destroyed

Rain is both the bringer of life and death in Mozambique.

It provides water for the rice and maize which is grown in the southern part of the country. But when rivers burst their banks, the fields become flooded with red muddy water, and the crops are destroyed.

People are forced to flee their homes, and many fall victim to water borne diseases.

Now, the Mozambican Prime Minister, Pascoal Mocumbi, admits his government is awaiting the new rainy season with trepidation.

Already, several thousand people have been cut off by floods caused by the first rains.

The ground in Mozambique is so waterlogged that it only takes a cloudburst or a shower to drench the sodden earth.

Whole communities in the south of the country are still dependent on United Nations aid agencies for food and support.

Situation serious

The World Food Programme has described the current situation as serious.

It is most concerned about communities that have moved back to areas which were exposed to the worst of the flooding earlier this year.

With further flooding a very real possibility, the good sign is that the UN will be better prepared for it this time around.

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See also:

03 May 00 | Africa
Mozambique picks up the pieces
28 Apr 00 | Africa
Flood baby's family start afresh
18 Apr 00 | Africa
Mozambique: Sowing seeds of hope
22 Nov 00 | Africa
Heavy rains revisit Mozambique
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