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Government Decrees “Orange Alert” in Mozambique: Heavy Rains in the North and Centre and Drought in the South

Government Decrees “Orange Alert” in Mozambique: Heavy Rains in the North and Centre and Drought in the South

The Mozambican Council of Ministers decreed an orange alert for the whole of Mozambique on Tuesday, in response to the rainfall in the north and centre of the country and the drought in the south.

“We’ve had some rainfall in the north and centre, but there’s a shortage of rain in the south (…). We want to anticipate, in order to create the conditions for both the possibility of an upsurge in rainfall and the continued shortage of rain,” said the spokesman for the Council of Ministers, Filimão Suaze, at the end of the Council’s weekly session.

Suaze said that the declaration of an orange alert creates legal conditions for the activation of emergency operational centres at national and district level, the mobilisation of material, human and financial resources and the intensification of public awareness in order to withdraw from areas at risk of natural disasters.

With today’s decision, he continued, the country is preventing a “more difficult situation” due to the rain in the centre and north and the drought in the south.

At least 44 people have died in Mozambique in the current rainy season, since October, due to bad weather, 19 of them in Zambezia province, according to official figures up to 8 January, previously reported by Lusa.

According to a national balance sheet report by the National Institute for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (INGD), lightning strikes were the main cause of death (28 cases) in this period related to weather conditions, followed by wall collapses (13) and drownings (three).

The rains and strong winds affected 4,056 families across the country during this period, totalling 19,729 people, and 49 were injured, causing the partial destruction of 1,611 homes, while 718 were totally destroyed and 1,784 flooded.

There were also 137 classrooms destroyed, 21 schools, 3,968 pupils and 42 teachers affected.

The bad weather also affected eight health facilities and nine houses of worship, as well as destroying 88 kilometres of roads by 8 January.

Mozambique is considered one of the countries most severely affected by climate change in the world, facing cyclical floods and tropical cyclones during the rainy season, which runs from October to April.

The 2018/2019 rainy season was one of the most severe on record in Mozambique: 714 people died, including 648 victims of cyclones Idai and Kenneth, two of the biggest ever to hit the country.

In the first quarter of last year, heavy rains and Cyclone Freddy caused 306 deaths, affected more than 1.3 million people in the country, destroyed 236,000 homes and 3,200 classrooms, according to official government figures.

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