TROPICAL storm Dineo has killed seven people in Mozambique since it hit the coast on Wednesday, the government’s disaster centre said yesterday.
The storm has brought heavy rain and winds of up to 160km/h, raising the risk of flooding and crop damage.
Heavy rain has also been falling in Limpopo.
The storm‚ which was downgraded from a tropical cyclone yesterday morning‚ is expected to bring as much as 200mm of rain in 24 hours to parts of the two countries.
Mozambique’s emergency operational centre said about 130 000 people living in Inhambane province, 500km northeast of Maputo, had been affected by the storm.
Mozambique is especially vulnerable to flooding following a major drought last year.
Heavy rains and fierce winds have destroyed about 20 000 homes.
In Pretoria, the Department of Cooperative Governance, in charge of arranging and coordinating disaster interventions‚ has warned people in Mpumalanga‚ Limpopo and KwaZuluNatal to brace themselves for Dineo’s arrival.
Large parts of Limpopo were expected to experience storms and rain until late tomorrow afternoon.
Graskop and Skukuza have reported more than 30mm of rain.
The SA Weather Service said: “The system will pose a great risk for the next 36 to 48 hours, particularly in terms of further exceptionally heavy rainfall and resultant flooding.”
The Mozambican government said the situation was less severe in Gaza province and its capital Xai-Xai, halfway between Maputo and Inhambane.
However, the government said it feared flooding in the area due to the torrential downpour.
Experts said the storm should weaken as it moved over land, but it could still bring heavy rainfall.
Damage could be inflicted on Mozambique’s multimillion-dollar macadamia nut industry.
Subsistence maize farmers recovering from last year’s El Nino-triggered drought are also at risk. – Reuters, TMG Digital