The flood waters of the Incomati river and its tributaries swept across Mozambique's main north-south highway cutting off Maputo from the north and centre of the country, it was reported on Monday.

The Incomati was swollen by the torrential rains brought to southern Mozambique, Swaziland and parts of South Africa by tropical depression “Dando” on Monday and Tuesday, AIM reported.

A cut in the road occurred at 3rd February village, in Manhica district, north of Maputo where 10 metres of the road had been destroyed.

Maputo province governor Maria Jonas told reporters that staff from the National Road Administration were at 3rd February, and were working to repair the road as quickly as possible, AIM reported.

“The atmosphere at the break in the road is one of great anxiety,” Jonas told AIM.

The low-lying area was vulnerable to flooding and was where the Incomati had swept over the main road on previous occasions.

Earlier, disaster relief officials said storms had forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and had killed 22 in Mozambique, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Mozambican State TV reported on Monday that 12 people had died on Sunday in the central province of Zambezia.

Ten deaths in southern areas had been reported earlier in the aftermath of Dando, which brought fierce rains and wind last week, AP reported.

The storms had abated, but Dulce Chilundo, director of the national emergency office, told Radio Mozambique that the government was feeding and housing more than 56 000 people whose homes and belongings were swept away, according to AP reports.

According to AIM, the governor of Gaza, Raimundo Diomba, said several schools in his southern province had been destroyed. Elsewhere, flooding had made stretches of highway impassable.

Hundreds of vehicles had formed long queues on either side of the break, waiting for the flow of traffic to be restored, according to AIM.

Parts of the fibre-optic cable operated by the state telecommunications company TDM had been destroyed. Fixed and cellphone calls between Maputo and anywhere north of 3rd February were impossible.

TDM announced that it was working to repair the cable and to restore phone links as soon as possible.

The Movene river, in the Boane district south-west of Maputo, was also in flood and had cut off access to the Umbeluzi water treatment station, on which the capital’s water supply depended, Aim reported.

Here, the flood had damaged the mains water pipe supplying Boane with its drinking water. About 70 000 people had been deprived of their water supply. - Sapa