Saturday, March 8, 2014

Flood warning for Mozambique

Paul Fauvet in IOL News (South Africa): Torrential rains in southern Mozambique and South Africa on Tuesday and Wednesday have caused a major flood on the Incomati River in Mozambique. Briefing the Mozambican parliament on Thursday, the Minister of State Administration, Carmelita Namashulua, warned that the current flood was not far short of the enormous flood wave that struck the Incomati Valley in 2000.

At Ressano Garcia, on the border with South Africa, the river was measured at 10.4m on Wednesday morning – more than double the flood alert level of 5m. Namashulua said this was much higher than the last flood on the Incomati, in 2011, when the river reached 6.83m.

In 2000, the year of the worst floods in independent Mozambique’s history, the Incomati reached 10.56m. It is now just 17cm short of that record, and the authorities fear that, since more rain is forecast, the current flood could exceed the levels of 2000.

The Incomati takes a long and meandering path through southern Mozambique before it reaches the sea about 30km north of Maputo. It will take two or three days for the flood surge to travel that distance.

In about 48 hours, the flood would reach Manhica district, said Namashulua. When that happens, it would sweep across the country’s main north-south highway. That would, almost certainly, as with previous floods, cut all overland traffic between Maputo and the centre and north of the country....

US Air Force activity over a flooded Mozambique in 2000

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