News and Information

Zambezi residents urged to relocate
January 26, 2005
JOHANNESBURG - Residents of flood-prone areas in the path of the rising Zambezi in Namibia and Mozambique have been asked to move to higher ground, disaster officials told Irin.

"The Zambezi has crossed the flood-alert level of five metres in Sofala [the central Mozambican province]. It has not begun flooding yet, but we have issued the warning to the farmers in the flood plains in the provinces of Tete, Sofala and Zambezia", said Rita Almeida, spokeswoman for the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) in Maputo.

The Zambezi rises in northwestern Zambia and flows along the eastern edge of the Caprivi to the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe before continuing through Mozambique to the Indian Ocean.

Almeida told Irin that the INGC has had a contingency plan in place since November 2004; transport, tents and food relief will be sent to affected areas as soon as the river floods.

In Namibia the Emergency Management Unit (EMU) has issued a warning to residents living along the Zambezi in northeastern Caprivi to move to higher ground.

Francis Kooper, EMU's acting head, said heavy rains in Zambia and Angola were expected to swell the Zambezi.

Last year about 5 000 people were displaced and a further 15 000 affected by flooding, the worst in almost 50 years, the Namibia Red Cross said in a statement.

Kooper said the river's water level was increasing by 0,02 m a day, compared to 0,03 m last year, but "flooding cannot be ruled out".

- Irin News


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