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16 de fevereiro de 2021
Thousands of families isolated and several roads cut in Maputo province - fonte: Club of Mozambique

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Thousands of families isolated and several roads cut in Maputo province - fonte: Club of Mozambique

About 27,000 people in Boane municipality, Maputo province, are isolated as a result of the floods caused by the rain that has fallen since last week. Two bridges over the Umbeluzi River are submerged, several roads are cut and hundreds of houses are flooded. Losses also extend to the agricultural sector.

The situation is constraining the circulation of people and goods in and out of the municipal village of Boane. The Umbeluzi River has overflowed and, in addition to flooding roads, has washed away sections, necessitating substantial repair work.

A strenuous commute to work

Letícia, who works at the water treatment plant on the banks of the Umbeluzi River, “sweated” to get to her job. Instead of her usual route, she resorted to going via Mafuaiane, spending a lot of extra time. “I should be at my job, but I don’t know how to cross” [to the other bank], she said.

Her difficulty results from the fact that the two bridges commonly in use are submerged.

There is rain, and it wreaks havoc, but life cannot stop, local communities say, so artisanal fishing vessels have been repurposed to transport people and goods, fisherman Cesar Alberto explains.

Boat operators swear that the crossing is safe. Sabina Francisco, a teacher at one of the primary schools in Boane, doubts it, but this Monday had no alternative but to resort to the canoes for his commute.

Marta Fernando also needed to rouse up her courage to cross the Umbeluzi using this method.

Indeed, the trip is not free – operators charge 15 meticais per passenger. The safety of users is an open question, since the capacity of the canoes is determined according to the demand. Furthermore, there is no observance of Covid-19 preventive measures.

In Boane, some agricultural land is flooded. “[It is] extremely difficult,” Boane’s Mayor Jacinto Loureiro explains. “We have the two main bridges over the Umbeluzi River totally submerged. We have several roads cut, and many houses flooded.”

The damage does not end there. “The water pipes that leave the treatment plant for the village were also damaged,” possibly limiting the supply of water. Difficult times ahead are feared, starting this Monday, when tanks may empty.

Jacinto Loureiro said that the city council continues to seek solutions, in tandem with other entities. “Our machines are on the ground digging ditches and we will continue to work towards finding all necessary local remedies,” he said.

At time of going to press, the Umbeluzi River floodwaters were still moving to more areas.

By Amandio Borges

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