Mozambique Flood of 2000

The 2000 Mozambique flood was a natural disaster that occurred in February and March 2000.

The catastrophic flooding was caused by heavy rainfall that lasted for five weeks and made many homeless. Approximately 800 people were killed. 1,400 km² of arable land was affected and 20,000 head of cattle were lost. It was the worst flood in the Mozambique in 50 years.

The floods started on 9 February with heavy rainfall across Southern Africa. In South Africa, 26 people were killed while the military had to airlift foreign tourists cut off by floodwaters in the Kruger National Park.

But southern Mozambique bore the full impact of the rains and rising waters. In the capital Maputo tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. The worst hit were people living in makeshift homes in the slums around the capital.

Further north, hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless in Gaza province.

The Mozambican government's confidence that economic growth rates of 10 per cent or more could be sustained for the foreseeable future suffered a rude blow when floods swept through much of the south and centre of the country in February. Every major valley south of Beira was affected, as rivers burst their banks. When a cyclone then hit central Mozambique at the end of the month, it worsened an already massive natural disaster.

At the traditional May Day parade in Maputo, Prime Minister Mocumbi gave preliminary estimates that about 700 people had died and another 100 were missing. Almost 2 million people (some 12 per cent of the total population) were seriously affected, with half needing food aid. Almost 250,000 people lost their homes. And with 140,000 hectares of cultivated and grazing land lost to the floods - about 11 per cent of total cultivated area in the five provinces affected - over 113,000 small farm households had lost their livelihoods. Furthermore, some 20,000 head of cattle were missing and feared drowned, and many more could die of disease.