Maputo: Flooding in Mozambique has killed at least 36 people and displaced nearly 70,000, the United Nations said on Friday, as residents braced for a fresh storm surge.
    
"A total of 26 persons have died in (the worst affected southern province of) Gaza alone, with the nationwide death toll at 36," the UN in Mozambique said in a statement.
    
The number of displaced people now stood at 67,995 while nearly 85,000 have been affected by the raging waters in recent days, the UN said, urging donors to urgently make more funds available "to help deal with this emergency" in the impoverished southeast African nation.
    
Meanwhile, severe flooding continued to spread across the south of the country with the Mozambique government, international agencies and neighbouring South Africa scrambling to ease the humanitarian disaster.
    
The floods are a result of week-long torrential rains in South Africa and Zimbabwe that swelled the Limpopo river forcing an orange alert on January 12, when the toll began.
    
But the full impact of the rains was only now being felt. Thousands of residents who had fled their homes stuck on road sides leading out of devastated towns, surviving on scarce aid and in some cases forced to eat grasshoppers.
    
Their plight was only expected to worsen as intense rains were forecast for the weekend. In the tourist coastal city of Xai-Xai, spared until on Saturday, up to eight meters of water was expected to hit.
    
"The water is coming into the city. It is just starting. Some roads in the lower part of town are under water," said government spokesman Joao Carlos. "The situation is not very good."
    
Severe flooding in Xai-Xai would sever the main road connection between the north and south of the country.
    
"Private and commercial services have been evacuated from the lower parts of the city to higher areas," said police spokeswoman Sylvia Paolo.
    
"The population obeyed the calls for them to leave risk areas."

(Agencies)

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