On the morning of January 15, torrential rains beat down upon the southern Mozambique province of Maputo, causing flash floods. The communities of Bairro Ferroviário and Laulane, where Mozambique Nazarene Seminary is located, were hit especially hard.
During the morning hours, more than 120 homes collapsed and were washed away by the torrents with another estimated 400 damaged or flooded by the rushing waters. Four deaths were reported following the storm – all children under 14 years who were killed when their homes collapsed on top of them. Two Nazarene families lost their homes in the floods: Pastor Veronica Chambule and a member of the Laulane Church of the Nazarene.
The storm system also dumped rain in the interior of South Africa in the catchment areas of the rivers that flow through Mozambique. Red alert flood warnings were issued by Mozambique authorities and by January 22nd, the Inkomati and Limpopo rivers had passed flood stage. Early on the January 23, Limpopo District Superintendent Daniel Munguambe, his family, and many church members were evacuated to higher ground and took shelter in temporary camps established for flood victims. As of February 15, residents were unable to return to their homes, although clean-up operations were underway.
Waters continued to rise along the Limpopo and reached the town of Xai Xai by week’s end, causing the evacuation of the lower parts of the city. Water entered the city of Xai Xai but did not reach the city’s Nazarene church. Xai Xai District Superintendent Simião Chiponde reported that approximately 10 Nazarene families had their homes flooded and were evacuated to higher areas of the city. As of February 12, their homes were still under water.
Further north in the country, rains caused flooding along the major rivers. Most of the flooded areas were crop lands where people build temporary housing to take advantage of the rich soils of the rivers’ flood plains.
According to Mozambican National Disaster management, there were 91 deaths country-wide, most of them caused by the collapse of houses. Approximately 211,000 persons were displaced from their homes; 150,000 of these being in Gaza Province along the Limpopo River.
Nazarene Compassionate Ministries has responded with the purchase of basic materials for sterilizing water and clean-up operations. Some local churches in the Maputo area took offerings and collected used clothing to assist flood victims.
The original version of this article can be found here.