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Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 12:09 GMT
Mozambique army helps flood victims
People wading through flood waters
Flooding last year devastated Mozambique
By Jose Tembe in Maputo

The Mozambican Defence Ministry has moved quickly to help with flood relief efforts, following fierce criticism of indifference during last year's catastrophic flooding.

When Mozambicans suffered the worst floods in living memory last year, it was only after long delays that the Mozambican army joined in the rescue effort.

Last year, the army claimed that they had no uniforms and that they had little rescue equipment but things now seem to have changed for the better.

This year's floods began late last month, and a battalion of troops has already arrived in the country's central region which is experiencing the worst flooding.

Troops

Mozambican Defence Minister Tobias Dai announced that he was putting a battalion of troops at the disposal of the National Disaster's Management Institute to assist in relief work.

Map of Mozambique
General Dai did not specify the number of soldiers involved.

But he said the battalion, stationed at Guara-Guara in Buzi district of central Sofala province, included infantry, naval and air force personnel, military nurses and specialists in search and rescue operations.

From Guara-Guara, the troops should be able to operate in all the four central provinces affected by torrential rains and floods, namely Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambezia.

Toll rises

Meanwhile, the number of people who have died in the flooding in Zambezia, the area worst hit by the calamity, has now risen to 10 after two more floating bodies were found.

The two are reported to have drowned after their canoe capsized.

The situation in Zambezia has forced some of the people left homeless by the floods to seek refuge in neighbouring Malawi.

Crocodiles in Zambezia are reported to have been swept away by the fury of the waters, ending up in flooded villages where they are now causing terror.

At least, one person has been severely injured by a crocodile.

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See also:

01 Feb 01 | Africa
Mozambique flood damage spreads
29 Jan 01 | Africa
Mozambique hit by new floods
04 May 00 | Africa
Mozambique floods: Full coverage
01 Mar 00 | Africa
Mozambique: Nature takes its toll
03 May 00 | Africa
Mozambique picks up the pieces
31 Dec 00 | Africa
Mozambique braces for floods
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