Mozambique floods hit power exports, displace 70,000 – ‘There used to be only a few crocodiles in the Limpopo River. Now there are a lot.’Posted by Jim at Friday, January 25, 2013
25 January 2013 (SAPA-AFP) – Floods in southern Mozambique have displaced up to 70 000 people and cut power exports to energy-hungry neighbour South Africa in half, officials said yesterday. The south and centre of the country have been placed on red alert after experiencing the heaviest rainfall since devastating floods killed some 800 people in 2000.
In some places current water levels are higher than they were during that disaster. As the Limpopo River raged through the southern town of Chokwe, people slept in the open, many by the roadside, local media reported.
The record flood levels submerged houses in some places, emergency officials said. "We are sending seven days of food for 70 000 people," the country's international humanitarian head Lola Castro told AFP.
But she added: "Our in-country stocks are limited. We are requesting donor support." Nine rivers in six water systems were still above disaster levels by yesterday. The waters were predicted to drop in Chokwe, but rise at the Limpopo River's mouth in Xai-Xai on the Indian Ocean. […]
Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 184th out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index. Heavy rains are predicted to pelt the south until next Tuesday. In neighbouring South Africa 15 000 crocodiles escaped from a farm as the Limpopo flooded upstream from Mozambique.
Key power lines to South Africa were also damaged by the flooding of the Limpopo, Hilary Joffe, a spokesperson for South Africa's energy giant Eskom, said. "That has meant the supplies from Mozambique have been reduced. We are getting much less than 650 megawatts … which is less than half of what it should be." [more]
By Peroshni Govender; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Paul Casciato
24 January 2013
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Some 15,000 crocodiles escaped from a South African reptile farm in flood waters this week and were on the loose in and around one of southern Africa's biggest rivers, a newspaper reported on Thursday.
"There used to be only a few crocodiles in the Limpopo River. Now there are a lot," Zane Langman, whose in-laws own the farm in the northern part of the country told Beeld newspaper.
Langman said only half the escaped crocodiles from the Rakwena Crocodile Farm close to the Botswana border had been recaptured, the report said.
Langman added that farm gates were opened out of fear the rushing flood water would crush the crocodiles. [more]
By Marina Lopes; Editing by Ed Cropley and Ed Stoddard
25 January 2013
MAPUTO (Reuters) – Mozambican and South African military helicopters and boats have rescued 12,000 families from floods in central Mozambique that have killed 12 people and inundated villages, towns and huge swathes of farmland, officials said on Friday.
The war-scarred southern African nation's central provinces have had up to 500 mm of rain in 12 days, more than the combined average for January, February and March, according to its Meteorological Institute.
The downpour, combined with floodwater surging down the Limpopo river from neighboring South Africa and Zimbabwe, has left Chokwe, a town of 70,000 people 140 km (90 miles) north of Maputo, completely submerged.
The government issued an alert on Tuesday telling all residents to evacuate within 48 hours although it is unclear how many heeded the warning.
Television footage showed families climbing onto roofs and up trees to escape the rising floods in the region, which was also hit by massive floods in 2000. [more]