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Beira in Mozambique hit by flooding after Cyclone Gombe

March 18, 2022 GMT

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Heavy rains from Cyclone Gombe are causing flooding in central Mozambique’s port city of Beira, which was severely hit by a deadly cyclone three years ago.

Torrential rains have been falling for nearly two days, forcing families to leave their homes, making roads impassable and cutting off power supplies.

“My family spent the night from Wednesday to Thursday on top of the table,” Edson Machaude, 37, a resident of Beira’s Manga neighborhood, said on Friday. “It rained so much that the water reached waist level.”

Machauade said his family moved to a relative’s home that was not so badly hit.

“I was lucky, but there are some who right now have nowhere to go and are still in the middle of the water,” he said, adding that the intensity of the rain surprised everyone.

More than 400 millimeters of rain fell on the city over the two days, Beira mayor Albano Carige said Friday.

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“We used to record that amount in a year,” he said. “But this time we only recorded it in two days,” he added.

Flooding from the intense rainfall has been aggravated by the blockage of drainage ditches by litter and the disorderly construction of houses, he said.

Around 500 Beira residents have had to flee their flooded homes and three reception centers have been set up to accommodate them, Carige said. Nearly 80,000 customers in Beira are without electricity, according to the state power utility EDM.

About 12,000 inhabitants in Nhangau are now unreachable after the road linking them to Beira was cut off, Carige said.

Cyclone Gombe hit Mozambique in the early hours of March 11 causing considerable damage in Nampula and Zambezia provinces, including more than 50 deaths. By that afternoon the cyclone had weakened into a tropical depression.

The storm went back to the Indian Ocean where it regained some strength and then returned to the mainland of central Mozambique with heavy rains accompanied by moderate winds and thunderstorms. More heavy rain is forecast.

In Zambezia Province more than 2,000 houses are flooded and 15 temporary centers have been set up to shelter displaced families, Zambezia governor Pio Matos told the press.

Cyclones and other extreme weather events are becoming more frequent in Mozambique as an effect of climate change, say experts.