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Jane Standley
The BBC's Jane Standley
"There are 10,000 people at immediate risk"
 real 28k

The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"The authorities much better prepared than last year"
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Friday, 23 February, 2001, 23:45 GMT
Mozambique fears more rain
Bad weather is hampering rescue efforts
More rain could make situation worse
The authorities in Mozambique have warned of a catastrophic situation with more heavy rainfalls forecast for its flood-stricken areas in the central provinces.

The director of the country's National Disasters Management Institute, Silvano Langa, described the situation as very worrying, adding that the worst could still come.

The situation could become catastrophic - hence, we must be prepared

Silvano Langa

Mr Langa said the authorities were planning to evacuate more people from especially vulnerable areas on the banks of the Zambezi river, which remains at a critical height.

Mozambican authorities and relief agencies have been calling for more aircraft, money and fuel to evacuate and feed the people stranded in the second major floods to hit the country in a year.

Family walking through flood waters
Transport is getting difficult

More than 400,000 people are reported to have been affected by the latest flooding, which has seen the Zambezi river, flowing through central Mozambique, burst its banks.

More than 40 people have been killed since the floods began last month.

No respite

The situation is expected to worsen with heavy downpours forecast not only in central Mozambique but also in neighbouring Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

This water runs straight into the Zambezi river and into its main dam, the huge Kahora Bassa, which is only one metre below its critical level.

central Mozambique

State radio has been broadcasting warnings as opening the dam would send yet more water flowing into the Zambezi's flood plains.

The authorities say they plan to evacuate as many as 80,000 people, 10,000 of which are described as being in "immediate danger".

We need more air transport capacity to evacuate people and transport food

Joao Zamisa, Mozambique official

But aid agencies say some people are reluctant to leave, even though they have felt the blows of previous devastating floods.

A BBC correspondent in the capital, Maputo, says many people are so poor that they don't want to leave their livestock behind.

Transporting relief by road to affected areas is impossible
Transporting relief by road is impossible

Rains have washed away roads and bridges in the provinces of Zambezia and Sofala, hampering efforts to distribute aid by road.

But the shortage of aircraft means help is hard to come by. So far, only Britain and South Africa have provided two extra helicopters.

The South African Government is also trying to assess the damage.

Mozambique is still recovering from last year's devastating floods in which about 700 people died and about 500,000 were left homeless.

International donors pledged more than $400m to help Mozambique recover from those floods.

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See also:

22 Feb 01 | Africa
Mozambique in $30m flood appeal
29 Jan 01 | Africa
Mozambique hit by new floods
20 Feb 01 | Africa
Concern over Mozambique's floods
01 Feb 01 | Africa
Mozambique flood damage spreads
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