MAPUTO Jan 30 Widespread flooding in southern
Mozambique has displaced 143,000 people and aid agencies are
struggling to get assistance to communities underwater for
nearly a week, officials said on Wednesday.
The death toll from the flooding in the lower Limpopo river
now stands at 80, Mozambican officials said, while aid groups
said supplies of drugs and malaria test kits were running low,
raising concerns about the spread of disease.
In the hardest-hit town of Chokwe, 140 km (90 miles) north
of Maputo, only six out of 23 medical facilities were working
and there were no ambulances, aid agency Medecins Sans
Frontieres (MSF) said.
The homeless are being housed in 30 tent cities erected by
the government with help from the United Nations.
"The Mozambican government and aid organizations are
struggling to respond to the needs," the U.N. said.
The government in the impoverished former Portuguese colony
refused to comment on the relief effort, putting a positive
gloss on the situation in the badly hit district of Gaza.
"In Gaza, the water is receding considerably. In some places
boats cannot even pass because there is not enough water," said
Rita Almeida, a spokeswoman for the National Institute of
At least 12 people have been killed in South Africa and
15,000 crocodiles escaped into the Limpopo, which also flows
along southern Zimbabwe, when dams protecting a reptile farm on
the banks of the river overflowed.
(Reporting by Marina Lopes; Editing by Ed Cropley)