Maputo, 10 Mar (AIM) – As Cyclone Freddy approaches the central Mozambican coast, Mozambique’s National Maritime Institute (INAMAR) has banned all shipping activities, both commercial and leisure, in Sofala, Zambezia and Nampula provinces.
The cyclone is expected to make landfall in Zambezia on Friday. An INAMAR release, issued on Thursday said that the ban is intended “to safeguard human life and property at sea”.
INAMAR issued a “maximum alert” to all shipping companies, fishermen, community fishing councils, owners of boats and the residents of coastal areas “for the need to observe maritime safety measures”.
While the cyclone was affecting the central provinces, nobody should put out to sea, INAMAR warned, and all boats should be placed in safe areas, where they cannot be swept out to sea.
The country’s relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute (INGD), warned that the cyclone could affect around 160,000 people in Zambezia, of whom 40,000 could need humanitarian assistance.
The INGD Zambezia delegate, Nelson Lodovigo, told a meeting of the provincial emergency operational committee in the provincial capital, Quelimane, on Thursday, that over the past ten days (27 February to 9 March), heavy rains of between 100 and 250 millimetres had fallen in the districts of Chinde, Luabo, Mopeia, Morrumbala, Milange, Mocuba, Namacurra, Nicoadala and Quelimane city.
On Friday, thunderstorms are forecast throughout the province, with more than 200 millimetres of rain falling in 24 hours.
Ludovigo said that 260 local disaster risk management committees have been activated, which are urging the public to avoid flood-prone areas. 152 centres for temporary shelter have been mapped, and 19 boats are available for search and rescue operations.