The Director of Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) has said those people in flood risk areas who resist calls to seek safer areas will be removed by force after more than 20 people have been confirmed dead nationwide, APA learned on Thursday.
Joao Ribeiro said the INGC will resort to compulsory evacuation as a strategic bid to save lives.
Many people in flood risk regions are resisting to heed to the government’s calls for them to vacate areas at risks on the grounds that they have their homes and livestock there.
"We have already begun the removal of affected people compulsorily but now we are intensifying the activity because there is still resistance and the danger is already a reality," said Ribeiro.
Therefore, the authorities urge people to leave areas of risk and avoid putting their lives at risk.
The situation remains worrying in the district of Chokwe in Gaza province, where more than 55,000 people could be affected by flooding as a result of the rains and the opening of floodgates on dams and Massingir Macarretane.
The district of Xai-Xai is another region of the province of Gaza which also faces the specter of flooding.
At this time, the evacuation of the population is the only alternative because there are no signs of improvement in the situation shortly.
Flooding in Mozambique has so far killed nearly 30 people and displaced hundreds of families, prompting the government to step up rescue operations and issue a red alert for some areas. Torrential rains that have battered central Mozambique for weeks have raised water levels in the Cahora Bassa, a major dam on the Zambezi River. The authorities have opened the floodgates to ease the pressure on the dam walls.
Opening the floodgates is expected to continue to raise water levels in the River Zambezi, Africa’s fourth largest, and spill over to villages along its pathway through central Mozambique, independent daily O Pais reported on Wednesday.
The red alert, one step down from declaring a disaster area, was announced by the government after a cabinet meeting late on Tuesday.
Government spokesman Alberto Nkutumula said the authorities would forcibly evacuate around 130,000 people from areas near rivers as water levels continue to rise due to heavy rain.
"All the conditions have been created to evacuate and relocate 130,000 people living in areas of risk," Nkutumula was quoted by state-run Radio Mozambique as saying.
Despite the red alert, he said Mozambique did not plan to ask for international aid at this time. "There is internal capacity to deal with the situation."
Mozambicans are often victims of flooding during the rainy season. Floods in 2000 and 2007 forced hundreds of thousands from their homes in the impoverished southern African nation.
Since then, Mozambique has minimized the loss of life by evacuating people to higher ground at the start of the rains.
Source African Press Agency
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