MAPUTO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - 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 Calamity Management.
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)