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SHAKE AND BLOW
Mozambique military called in to battle floods
by Staff Writers
Maputo (AFP) Jan 29, 2013


Seychelles appeals for aid following floods and landslides
Victoria, Seychelles (AFP) Jan 28, 2013 - Seychelles, hit by a series of rare floods and landslides, declared a state of emergency on Monday in three districts of the main island and appealed for international aid.

Local authorities reported no casualties, but said three districts on the main island of Mahe were badly damaged with reports of flooding in more than 150 houses.

The Indian Ocean archipelago's president James Michel called for international help, saying his country could not cope with the "disaster" on its own.

The popular tourist destination usually escapes unharmed during the hurricane season, but was hit on Sunday by heavy tropical storms, with lashing rain on Monday hampering rescue efforts.

Seychelles, a former British and French colony, is made up of 115 islands with 85,000 inhabitants, with at least 70,000 people living on Mahe.

150,000 displaced by Mozambique floods: UN
Maputo (AFP) Jan 28, 2013 - Intense flooding in southern Mozambique has displaced at least 150,000 people, the United Nations said on Monday, warning that figure could yet rise further.

"The official figure is 150,000 people displaced in Gaza province," United Nations spokeswoman Patricia Nakell told AFP.

A flood surge devastated large swathes of the low-lying southern province last Wednesday provoking a mass exodus to higher ground.

But authorities still do not know how many people are trapped in remote areas where emergency teams are struggling to gain access.

The flooding has killed at least 40 people and with more heavy rain predicted is expected to spread further.

Aid agencies and government emergency services have set up scores of temporary camps in the area where flood victims are being fed and housed in tents.

Flood waters are still on the rise further down the Limpopo river around the coastal town of Xai Xai.

"Water levels are still rising there so the situation is fluid," Nakell said.

Provincial authorities have asked affected families to move of their own accord but have warned that force may be used to remove those who refuse.

Mozambique's military has been called in to help tackle severe flooding that has killed 48 people and is likely to spread to the country's central and northern regions, officials said Tuesday.

The armed forces have begun helping with clean-up operations in the devastated southern town of Chokwe, which has borne the brunt of the flooding caused by heavy rains.

"We can confirm the army is helping support the affected people," said Benjamim Chabualo, spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence told AFP.

Soldiers have also been involved in rescue efforts and the navy has ferried people by boat to reach areas isolated by flooding.

According to UN figures around 250,000 people have been affected by the floods and 146,000 people are being housed in temporary shelters.

Water levels have begun to recede in the south of the country, but the situation remains critical, and the centre and north are expected to be hit by fresh rain.

In Chokwe many homes have been completely inundated, and the flood surge has left in its wake piles of rubbish, mud and the detritus of lives destroyed.

"In Chokwe families have begun cleaning their homes and (the national civil protection unit) will help the municipality to clean the city," civil protection spokeswoman Rita Almeida said.

Even as the floods ebb in some places, residents faced a tough slog to get clean food, water, shelter and avoid a legion of risks.

"The rains over southern Mozambique have ceased for the time being, and the floodwaters are slowly receding. However, many have lost everything in the floods," according to a UN situation report.

At least 48 people have died, some electrocuted by severed power lines trailing in the water, some crushed by collapsed buildings and some attacked by crocodiles

At temporary shelters aid agencies are feeding approximately 70,000 people.

While tens of thousands of people have made their way to government camps, many more have not.

"We know there are a great many people affected who did not turn up at these centres," said Rita Almeida, Mozambique's national disaster management institute.

Some may have gone to the houses of family and friends, others, in more remote regions, remained stranded.

Helicopters are airlifting food and medical supplies to isolated areas.

"We are lifting supplies to places where neither boats or vehicles can enter," the Director-General of Mozambique's Disaster Management Institute (INGC) said on national radio.

"We are doing all in our power to get food to people where they need it."

The entire south and centre of the country is still on red alert for floods although authorities say water levels on main rivers are gradually dropping.

Authorities are monitoring the central Sofala and Zambezia provinces which have been registering rains.

"The forecast is it could keep raining for the next 48 hours and that the rain is moving north," Almeida said.

"We appeal to people to take precautions, particularly in houses made of material that is vulnerable to floods."

Some residents have refused to leave their homes out of fear of looting.

"If they stay on top of houses they can't benefit from aid. They prefer staying until the water goes down," Chokwe mayor, Jorge Macuácua told AFP.

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SHAKE AND BLOW
Mozambique floods spur roof births, ruin and diarrhoea
Guija, Mozambique (AFP) Jan 28, 2013
Now that the water is receding, residents affected by flooding in Mozambique are starting to repair the damage, looking for good news amid reports of rooftop births and diarrhoea, and cholera lurking in the shadows. The flooding from the Limpopo river, which began on Wednesday, killed around 40 people and forced more than 100,000 others to flee. Amid the catastrophe, two babies were born ... read more


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