Rising water levels from heavy rainfall in the flood-struck southern part of Mozambique have forced the country’s authorities to start the emergency evacuation of some 55,000 people.
The development came on Tuesday as the waters have already claimed the lives of 35 people since the beginning of the rainy season in October 2012.
“We are asking people to move to safer areas. We estimate there are 55,000 people affected,” a spokeswoman for Mozambique‘s Disaster Relief Management Institute (INGC), Rita Almeida was quoted by AFP as saying.
Meanwhile, emergency teams have been formed and motorboats sent to the area to transfer people to safe places as eight main rivers are reported to reach above alert levels.
According to Hanoch Barlevi, a local emergency specialist at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the alert level is five meters (16 feet). However, on Monday it reached six meters (19.6 feet).
Nearly 185 millimeters (more than seven inches) of rain were reported to pour over the Limpopo river basin, which is located in southern Gaza province, from Sunday to Monday.
Almeida further said that the authorities are registering very high water levels in the Limpopo and Inkomati rivers that could cause flood in the southern town of Chokwe.
Meanwhile, heavy rains in neighboring states have caused the rivers to swell and forced the opening of the sluices from two dams in the south.
Since there are nine international river basins in Mozambique, the risk of flooding is always high in the country.
Mozambique experienced destructive floods in 2000 that killed about 800 people and affected millions, Presstv reports.