Maputo - Flooding caused by heavy seasonal rains claimed three more lives over the weekend in Mozambique where authorities bracing for a fresh surge along the Zambezi river were battling to get supplies to around 2 000 families that had fled their homes.

The latest fatalities in the floods that have claimed over 60 lives in southern Africa since December were reported in Marromeu district in Sofala province, through which the Zambezi passes on its way to sea.

Flooding in Mozambique is a feature of the summer rainy season. Around 100 000 people have been evacuated from four river valleys to resettlement camps on higher ground in what has become an almost annual ritual since the deadly floods that killed 700 in 2000/2001.

This year's floods are the heaviest in years and were expected to worsen when the floodgates on the Kariba Dam upstream on the Zambezi on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border were opened to prevent it from bursting its banks.

The operators of the dam had said they intended to start releasing water on Monday.

"The situation remains critical," a source at Mozambique's disaster management agency INGC said.

"Given that it is raining heavily we do not have access to the places where the (flood) victims have been relocated. We know that there are some 2 000 families unattended (in and around Marromeu). They have no food for quite a long time."

The INGC was stockpiling food in a nearby area in the hope of being able to deliver supplies by boat when the waters recede.

Parts of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia have also been plagued by floods that have submerged villages and inundated thousands of acres of crops.

Of the more than 60 deaths, 31 have been in Zimbabwe, six each in Zambia and Malawi and at least 13 in Namibia.