Flood on Pungue river worsening

The flood on the Pungue river in the central Mozambican province of Sofala is worsening, and the river is now swirling over sections of the main road from Beira to Zimbabwe.

According to the latest bulletin from the National Water Board (DNA), at midday on Thursday the Pungoe was measured at 8.06 metres – more than two metres above flood alert level – and was continuing to rise.

So far traffic is continuing to use the road in the hours of daylight, but if the level of the river rises much further, the authorities may have to consider closing it. Officials of the National Roads Administration (ANE) met with representatives of the Sofala provincial government on Thursday afternoon to discuss possible alternatives if the road becomes unusable.

Further south, the Save river, on the boundary between Sofala and Inhambane provinces. was slightly above alert level at Vila Franca do Save. But it was impossible to measure the river at Nova Mambone, near its mouth, because the measuring equipment has been submerged. In Nova Mambone, the flood destroyed six houses and cut off two schools.

The administrator of the Sofala district of Machanga, Ana Paula Matiquete, cited in the Maputo daily “Noticias”, said that the waters of the Save cut the only access route to Machanga town on Wednesday. But the following day work teams from the local community managed to partially reopen the road.

The situation along the Save Valley could become much worse because a dam in neighbouring Zimbabwe is threatening to collapse. The Zimbabwean authorities have evacuated some 4,000 people from areas immediately downstream of the unfinished Tokwe-Mukorsi dam. Zimbabwean press reports indicate that water is forcing ts way through cracks in the dam wall, and there is a massive build-up of water in the reservoir behind the dam.

The dam is on the Tokwe river, a tributary of the Runde river, which joins the Save at the Mozambique/Zimbabwe border. Should the dam collapse, this would not only have devastating effects in southern Zimbabwe, but would produce a flood surge down the Save.

Mozambique’s largest river, the Zambezi, is continuing to rise on its lower reaches. At Caia, the river was measured on Thursday at 5.62 metres, 62 centimetres above alert level. Further downstream, at Marromeu, the river was 41 centimetres above flood level.

Post published in: Africa News

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