MAPUTO, Mozambique — As Mozambique’s rainy season begins, the government is preparing for the worst in case the country’s suffers another of its frequent and deadly floods.
The impoverished country has set aside $32 million of its national budget to deal with the possibility of flooding in an effort to avoid disaster and save lives, the government has said.
“We are already in the rainy season,” said deputy foreign minister, Enrique Banze. “This is a critical moment and needs a great deal of attention, not only from the government, but from all Mozambicans.” Banze said the funds would cover disaster response efforts and the needs of people who may be displaced.
Mozambique’s government has drawn up a contingency plan with various possibilities for the country that lies on Africa’s southeastern coastline. The worst case scenario imagines strong cyclones and the possibility of earthquakes in the north of the country which is affected by the East Africa Rift faultline. A less severe problem would be localised flooding that could affect 318 000 people during January and February, the wettest months of the year.
Mozambique is frequently hit by floods. In 2000 the country experienced its worst flood, in which more than 800 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were made homeless when waters severely submerged whole towns.
Last year, flooding in the north and central parts of the country killed at least 55 people and displaced nearly 170 000 people.