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Torrential rains cause road problems across Mozambique

Flooding caused by torrential rain has isolated about 27,000 people in the municipality of Boane, about 30 kilometres west of Maputo city, reports the independent television station STV.

The main problem for mobility is that two bridges across the Umbeluzi river are under water. The rising river did not sweep the bridges away, but it made using them hazardous, if not impossible.

Roads in the municipality are cut, hundreds of houses have been flooded, and crops in nearby fields inundated. Transport across the Umbeluzi is now guaranteed by small boats. Their owners, many of them fishermen, insist that the boats are safe, but the passengers are doubtful, using the boats because they have no alternative.

The service is not free of charge. The boat owners charge 15 meticais (about 20 US cents) per passenger per crossing. STV noted that there seems to be no limit on the number of people the owners cram onto their boats, and they are not observing any measures against the spread of Covid-19.

According to the Mayor of Boane, Jacinto Loureiro, the municipal water supply has also been damaged. The water treatment and pumping station that supplies the drinking water for much of Greater Maputo is on the Umbeluzi.

The mains pipes that carry water from the treatment station to Boane town have suffered damage. Loureiro feared that the town’s reserves of water will soon run out.

Further south, in Matutuine district, almost 6,000 people have been isolated by the collapse of a bridge over the Maputo river in the Catuane administrative post. The bridge linked nine Catuane villages to the rest of the country. The river has also flooded more than 2,000 hectares of crops.

“Catuane is completely isolated”, the local chief, Nguiliche Banda, told STV. “You can’t cross the river from either bank”.

“The people have lost all their production”, Banda added. “They grew their crops by the banks of the river and it’s all been flooded. This puts Catuane in a very difficult situation, and it may be difficult to supply the people with basic goods”.

The food reserves in the hands of Catuane residents might run out before the fallen bridge is repaired. Staff of the National Roads Administration (ANE) are on the ground, looking for ways or re-establishing road transport to Catuane as quickly as possible.

The torrential rains have also caused problems in the northern province of Nampula. Traffic along the road between Ribaue and Malema districts has been interrupted because of damage to pillars of the bridge over the Natate river.

The road in question is National Highway 13 which connects Niassa and Nampula provinces. When the bridge pillars gave way, there were queues of vehicles at both ends of the bridge. Bus passengers crossed the bridge on foot.

ANE has promised to install a metallic bridge to allow emergency crossing of the river. The Secretary of State for Nampula, Mety Gondola, pledged that traffic across the river would soon be restored.

“This is a very strategic road for us”, said Gondola. “It links us to Niassa, and to the countries of the hinterland via Malawi. There’s a lot of agricultural production that has to be moved, and this could be compromised if we don’t find a quick solution”.

Source: AIM via clubofmozambique

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