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1/28/2008

Mozambique to forcibly evacuate 10,000 from floods

MAPUTO (Reuters) - Mozambique will forcibly evacuate 10,000 people who have defied calls to leave areas at risk of flooding, the government said on Sunday as an advancing tropical cyclone threatened to swell floodwaters.

"They want to look after their livestock and property," said Joao Ribeiro, deputy director of the National Institute for Disaster Management. "Our mission is to remove everybody from any flooded area or those at risk."

Floods in the southern African country have already cost at least 18 lives and destroyed homes, livestock and crops. The government says 92,000 people have been rescued. Mozambique said early this month that 200,000 were at risk.

Authorities said on Sunday that the "Fame" storm system had intensified into a full-scale cyclone. Its centre was just off the coast and it was expected to hit flooded river valleys and bring heavy rains to the north and centre.

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