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Mozambique Floods: At Least 66 Dead, Tens of Thousands Affected

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By Staff, Agencies

At least 66 people have lost their lives and 141,000 affected after heavy rains deluged central and northern Mozambique, the government said as it appealed for funds to manage the crisis.

"The government has decreed a red alert due to the continuing rains and the approach of the tropical cyclone Idai, expected to reach the country between Thursday and Friday," said cabinet spokeswoman Ana Comoana.

Comoana spoke to reporters late Tuesday after a meeting of the Council of Ministers held in Maputo to discuss the deadly flooding.

The floods in one of Africa's poorest countries have already destroyed 5,756 homes, affecting 15,467 households and 141,325 people.

There are 111 people with injuries, 18 hospitals destroyed, 938 classrooms destroyed, and 9,763 students affected.

More than 168,000 hectares of crops were also destroyed, the government spokeswoman added.

Meanwhile, the authorities ordered the compulsory evacuation of people living in flood-prone areas.

"Sixteen accommodation centers have been opened in the provinces of Zambezia and Tete to accommodate the displaced," Comoana said.

"The government needs 16 million dollars to assist 80,000 families affected by the rains."

The country is prone to cyclones, floods, and droughts, and floods in 2000 claimed at least 800 lives while more than 100 were killed in 2015.

Floods have already claimed 30 lives and left over 230,000 people without shelter in southern Malawi, which borders Mozambique.