A second tropical storm to hit southern Mozambique in less than two weeks has destroyed thousands of homes in the south of the country and affected some 250,000 families. The state radio says that the north of the country has also been hit and the death toll so far throughout the country is 26.

The storms have flooded farm land in the northern Montepuez district, an important maize producing part of the country.

This is an area where there are large deposits of rubies and the government has recently granted a mining licence to Montepuez Mining, a newly formed Mozambique company, to extract the precious gemstones.

The company, which will operate the area in conjunction a British consortium, has plans to create jobs for about 350 specialists in what it believes could be one of the largest areas for rubies in the world.