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After the floods


Engineers are likely to be required in greater numbers in the aftermath of Mozambique's floods. Bridges and highways have been undermined or washed away on a major scale, along with much other infrastructure.

'You are likely to see bridges across the Limpopo river standing proud without embankments,' one engineer with African experience told NCE this week.

So far, there are no estimates of the scale of damage because much of the country remains under metres of water.

Peter Hallifax of Mott MacDonald who was involved in a 1990's study of the Limpopo river, the major watercourse in the southern part of the country, said that many of the engineering design parameters in Mozambique would have to be revised.

'Part of our study was to establish probable maximum flood levels for dam construction,' he said. 'But those figures are unusable now.' His work included the upper reaches of the river in Botswana and South Africa.

A spokesman at the Pretoria-based Department of Water Affairs said that one in 50 year floods had affected these regions between 18 January and 24 February. Several agricultural dams up to 8m high had been washed away.

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