Maputo, 26 Feb (AIM) – Mozambique’s relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGD), has urged the victims of flooding in Maputo province not to leave the accommodation centres where they are currently living without prior guidance from the authorities.
Speaking at the end of a session of the Emergency Operational Committee in Xai-Xai, capital of the southern province of Gaza, the INGD chairperson, Luisa Meque, pointed out that more rain is forecast for southern Mozambique. She recommended that people affected by the storms should not try to return to areas prone to flooding.
About 8,000 people are currently living in the accommodation centres in Maputo province. “This number is dropping”, Meque noted, “because some people are moving into the homes of relatives”.
She added that the INGD has not yet instructed people to leave the accommodation centres, given the continued risk of further heavy rain. People should wait until the stormy weather “really has passed”.
The INGD spokesperson for Maputo province, Nelma de Araujo, made the same appeal over Radio Mozambique. The forecast, she said, is for more rain in Maputo city and province, and in Gaza and Inhambane – hence the need for prudence and caution in any decision to leave the accommodation centres.
“We cannot make a speedy assessment and decide to go home, because we might be putting our own lives at risk”, warned Araujo. “We recommend that people take greater care and wait for information from the relevant bodies before going back to their houses”.
“We know that we all feel anxious and need to go back to our own houses, where we feel better, where we feel safer”, she added. “But now is not the moment. The local and official structures will inform families whether or not they can go back home”.
The Sunday weather in Maputo seemed to prove Meque and Araujo right. It poured with rain for most of the morning, making it distinctly unlikely that flood victims could return to already inundated neighbourhoods any time soon.