RELIEF ENGINEERS in Mozambique this week turned their attention to infrastructure assessment as work in refugee centres continued to focus on short term water and sanitation.
Twelve Register of Engineers for Disaster Relief volunteers already in the country were joined by two more on Monday. 'Flood levels have been going down slowly despite further heavy rains last week,' said Oxfam country co-ordinator Kate Horn in capital Maputo.
Floods have washed out roads in many places, including five cuts to the crucial 2,000km Route Nacional 1 highway between Maputo and the north of the country. Temporary repairs have been made.
Railway embankments have been washed away and bridges left stranded. Electricity pylons have also gone, said British engineer Simon Palmer who is on a one month REDR secondment from Italian firm CMC in Maputo. 'Without power there is no water, though the power company is working hard to restore it.'
Bridges were still standing though they will need inspection. The large suspension bridge at Xaixai over the Limpopo river also remained intact.
Palmer has been advising on town water supply at Choque 150km from the capital, where inhabitants were beginning to go back. 'We are also tankering in water,' he said.
Mud deposits were a major problem, he said. Up to 3-4km wide areas have mud up to waist height. Standing buildings are filled too and mud houses have vanished, he added.
Oxfam is considering investing money from a television appeal in medium term work assessing and restoring roads and bridges.
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