Authorities warn residents as Dineo bears down on Mozambique

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Mozambican authorities have warned people in provinces of Inhambane and Gaza to brace for the arrival of category 4 tropical cyclone Dineo on Wednesday evening.

Inhambane and Gaza, which are prone to severe droughts and flooding, are expected to be worst hit by Dineo’s heavy rainfall and hurricane-force winds.

The Ministry of State Administration and Civil Service said Dineo recorded wind speeds of up to 200km/h and rainfall of 100mm in 24 hours. The strong winds are also expected to increase the numbers of homes, roads, and schools damaged.

The National Institute for Disaster Management said it was ready for the impact of Dineo, despite being slightly under budget. It recommended that citizens stay off the roads during the storm.

The national emergency operational centre instructed Mozambicans to keep themselves informed, but to turn off all electronic devices, including cellphones.

Citizens were advised to close all windows, ensure the safety of the elderly and sick, and to prepare food and water reserves.

The Red Cross in Mozambique had dispatched 350 volunteers and emergency supplies to communities in the cyclone’s path, and would direct those affected to shelters.

“We’re concerned about extensive flooding, given that many of the districts likely to be hit have been inundated by above-normal rainfall since early January and rivers in some areas are already at flood level,” said Jamie Le Sueur, Red Cross disaster management co-ordinator for Southern Africa said.

The southern-most provinces are usually the most affected by droughts and floods during the rainy season, which lasts for three months, subsiding in March. The Red Cross was concerned that the storm would result in an outbreak of cholera due to damaged and contaminated water sources.

The priority would be disinfecting and treating water.

Dineo was expected to move westward, toward South Africa, and neighbouring countries.