British charities to launch fund-raising appeal for Mozambique
The Mozambique Floods Appeal will launch a "major nationwide appeal tomorrow (Thursday) ... to raise as much money as possible," said Alison Woodhead of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), grouping agencies including the 11 currently working in Mozambique.
"The situation is appalling and getting worse," Woodhouse told AFP.
"What we are particularly concerned about is that it's still raining, which is putting even more pressure on the two river systems, the Limpopo and the Save."
She added: "There is clearly a desperate need to rescue people, but also a growing need" to supply clean drinking water, basic medicines and plastic sheeting for those who escape the disaster.
Britain on Tuesday moved to charter a further five helicopters in the region, rather than fly them all the way to Mozambique. These were to go into operation "at first light" Wednesday.
International Development Minister George Foulkes told the BBC on Wednesday that Britain was "escalating our response substantially" to the disaster.
He said: "We've got people working there all through the night and through the day, looking for helicopters. Miraculously, we've been able to find five more locally."
London was also sending two large transport planes carrying 30 British emergency personnel, with 69 inflatable boats with outboard motors, 39 life rafts and several emergency response vehicles equipped with satellite communication equipment.
Woodhead said Oxfam and Red Cross boats were also "supporting rescue efforts."
On even the lowest estimates, 200 people have died in the floods. Relief workers expect the figure to soar and hundreds of thousands are at risk, with no end in sight to the rain.
Woodhead said an exact death toll would be impossible to establish "as most of the bodies are under the water." She said rescue workers must "think the worst and hope for the best."
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 03/01/2000 08:45:43
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