Mozambique Still Working through Flood Waters

By March 5, 2007

Mozambique (MNN) — An estimated 165,000 Mozambique's have been displaced by the severe flooding that hit central Mozambique last week.

Food supplies, water, sanitation facilities and shelter are in high demand at the emergency settlements.  World Vision has already provided 70,000 displaced people in Mozambique's
Zambezia and Tete provinces with emergency supplies.

These supplies include 120 tons of World Food program food supplies, tents, 20,000 UNICEF mosquito nets, survival kits, latrine slabs, water tanks, purifiers and soap.

"The disaster is all the more tragic because the people and government of Mozambique have worked so hard to rebuild after 16 years of civil war.  But the flooding has destroyed much of the harvest now, so food shortages will be a problem in the coming months," Liz Satow, a World Vision global rapid response team program officer said.

While it seems that receding waters would be relieving news, Satow says, "…This is actually making it harder for us to reach people with aid because the water is still too deep to drive through; now it's too shallow to travel through by boat.  So access to the displaced families continues to be a major challenge."  Thick mud and marshes surrounding the settlement areas are hampering relief efforts.

The rainy season is not over yet.  There is a possibility for more cyclones and up to 285,000 people are still at risk for being displaced, according to official sources.

Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in Africa with an average annual GNP of $310.  Two of their provinces have an HIV prevalence of 20.4 percent.

The U-S Agency for International Development (USAID) reports that the government's speed and efficiency in responding to this disaster should be noted.  Jay Knott of USAID said that "the [Mozambique] government response to the natural disasters has been, by any measure,
outstanding."

The government had been working on improving its response to natural disasters.  Knot said, "A difference I've noticed from five years ago when I first arrived here is a real empowerment and more professional attitude toward anticipating and responding to natural disasters."


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