January 28, 2015 / 9:24 AM / in 3 years

Mozambique says death toll rises after heavy flooding

MAPUTO (Reuters) - More than 100 people have been killed and 150,000 displaced by floods in Mozambique, a senior government official said on Wednesday, as southern Africa counts the human and economic costs of this month's torrential rains.

The United Nations said last week the rains in early January had triggered floods affecting nearly one million people in Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar and Zimbabwe. About a quarter of a million people in total were forced to leave their homes.

"The floods have killed 117 people, an increase from the last balance of at least 84 dead a week ago," Mozambique's Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide told Reuters.

A majority of the deaths occurred in the central coastal region of Zambezia, he said, adding: "The deaths were caused by drowning, lightning and collapsed houses."

Malawi's President Peter Mutharika said on Tuesday his country, one of the poorest in the world, would probably miss its economic growth forecast this year of 5.8 percent due to the rains, which killed more than 60 people.

A lack of funds has hampered the region's ability to tackle the effects of the disaster, aid groups say.

Reporting by Manuel Mucari; Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa and Gareth Jones

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