Mozambique: Special focus on floods Appeal No. 01.22/2001 Situation Report No. 1


Period covered: January - February 14, 2001
Appeal 04/2000 revision 4, "Mozambique and Zimbabwe: Floods Rehabilitation" was closed on 31 December 2000 (see Situation Report nos. 13 and 14 issued on 23 November and 28 December 2000 respectively). The flood rehabilitation activities planned for Mozambique in that appeal are ongoing, carried out under the Federation’s 2001 Annual Appeal for Mozambique (01.22/2001). The balance of remaining funds from appeal 04/2000 will be transferred to the 2001 annual appeal; the list of contributions related to the 04/2000, 01.44/2000, and 01.22/2001 appeals are included at the end of this situation report.

The Mozambique Red Cross Society (MRCS), supported by the Federation, is responding immediately and effectively to the needs of the provinces affected by the recent recurrence of flooding. Though these levels of flooding are not extraordinary, the strategy is to monitor the situation carefully, mobilizing as many human, financial and material resources as possible and pre-positioning them in the most vulnerable provinces of Zambezia, Sofala, Tete and Manica. Further expenditures have been made in addition to the fully-funded Disaster Preparedness contingency stocks that have been put in place and continue to arrive in-country. The Federation therefore urges further cash support to allow the delegation to respond flexibly and appropriately in support of the National Society.

The context

After years of conflict, the government is working to build a sustainable economy and to support health and educational services, while promoting decentralization and management capacities. While conditions have generally improved in the country, access to health and social services is still far from adequate and both rural and urban vulnerability are high. The principal causes of death are malaria, communicable diseases, epidemics, deliveries and maternal mortality, malnutrition and diarrhoeal diseases. It is estimated that 1.2 million people are AIDS carriers and numbers are increasing, especially in the Nacala, Tete, Beira and Maputo corridors to Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa . The incidence rate in the corridors is 20%, twice the national average. The government’s 5-year plan prioritizes poverty alleviation and the social sectors, and the national policy on public administration modernization stresses the importance of decentralization and development of local management and professional skills.

Mozambique is a disaster-prone country affected by drought, floods, cyclones and epidemics. The country is in the process of recovering from the devastating floods of February, 2000. The capacity of communities and the government to respond to natural disasters such as floods remains very limited, and it is anticipated that there will be a need to maintain a disaster prevention and cholera response with the advent of the rainy season.

The Mozambique Red Cross Society’s Strategic Plan 1999-2001 will focus on efforts to strengthen the capacity of the most vulnerable population groups, particularly in the fields of health and social welfare.

To support the MRCS and to respond to the humanitarian needs in Mozambique, the Federation is channeling assistance through the country delegation to support capacity building efforts especially within the fields of institutional and financial resource development. Direct technical support is being provided by a development and a finance delegate, complemented by the Regional Delegation in Harare (e.g. in the fields of Disaster Preparedness, Health, and Water and Sanitation). The core objectives are to support the development of the MRCS from crisis management to proactive quality programme intervention by means of:

  • Improved management structures at all levels.
  • Adequate planning, implementing, evaluating and reporting procedures.
  • Improved financial sustainability through technical support to the Finance Resource Development Programme.
  • Improved disaster response and prevention capacity at all levels.
  • Improved communications between the MRCS and the Federation and PNS.
  • Active support to the Finance Resource Development Programme.

Latest events and Red Cross/Red Crescent action

Tete and the Zambeze River Basin

Flooding along the River Zambeze has grown worse within the last few days, particularly in the Mutarara district of Tete province. The Federation’s field delegate in Tete reports that according to local authorities, large-scale flooding has hit the town of Inhangoma, which is made up of two communities: Jardim (population, 15,000) and Chirembeu (population, 14,000). These areas are reported to be under water with some inhabitants forced to move into trees and on the few scarce roofs waiting for rescue. The two helicopters which had been working in Zambezia were transferred by the government’s emergency assistance agency (INGC) to the area to help in the rescue efforts. Latest information (16 February) indicates that some 5,000 people (1,000 families) are sheltered in four accommodation centres in Tete Province (450 families in M’Baue, 250 families in Nhamayabue, 300 in Inhangoma, as well as 28 families in Mutara). Local MRCS branches are involved with nine teams, each consisting of 10 volunteers, in the rescue operation. Red Cross emergency stocks available in the area are being used at the moment, with resupply of relief items - particularly food and fuel for two rescue boats - possible by helicopter only, as Inhangoma has been isolated for more than one week.

Weather forecasts predict further rainfalls in the central provinces of Mozambique in the coming 24 hours after prolonged rain over recent days. The provincial capital of Tete is itself suffering, with the CVM’s provincial office in danger of flooding from rising river levels. However, the Cahora Bassa dam sited further upstream is attempting to manage carefully its discharges to mitigate the worst effects of the rising Zambeze water levels. The dam increased its discharges from 3,700 to 3,900 cubic metres a second, rather than the 4,100 cubic metres a second originally planned, to try to ease the situation in the lower Zambeze.

The Zambeze’s water level at the Caia measuring station (in Sofala) on 15 February was 6.75 meters. The river has been rising steadily at this station - 5.01 meters on 17 January, 5.47 meters on 3 February, and 5.85 meters on 7 February. A continued rise in river levels will worsen damage to crops but loss of life or possessions is not anticipated, provided that the river continues to rise slowly, as the population is aware of the risks and used to these events. The river has burst its banks in several places south of Mutarara, mainly due to the effects of major tributaries, notably the Shire and the Revobue, neither of which possess any dams to control their flow. This is viewed as normal seasonal flooding, and can be expected to occur every 2-3 years.

The 200 kilometre stretch of the Zambezi from Mutarara to Chinde in Zambezia where the river meets the Indian Ocean, is therefore the focus of the gravest concern at the moment. Nevertheless, the Zambeze is not yet regarded as being in full flood.

Red Cross Response - Tete and the Zambeze River Basin

The Federation delegation and Mozambique Red Cross are mobilizing the following items which are urgently needed in Tete to respond to the latest flooding:

  • One fixed VHF radio station in Inhangoma and 8 handheld VHF radios for internal communication. These items are being procured in Maputo and will be delivered in the next couple of days.
  • Three inflatable rubber boats with motors. After being approached by the Federation delegation, the British Department for International Development (DFID) in Maputo pledged to deliver up to 15 boats with outboard motors to the Red Cross. Three are currently enroute (16 February), and the others are expected to be delivered shortly.
  • The following items are also being sent to Tete (as they become available):

Item
No.
Comments
Family Tents
638
500 from the Harare Regional Delegation’s DP stock; 8 remaining from the Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s stock;.
Tarpaulins
250
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Plastic Sheeting
36 pieces
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Blankets
1,000
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Soap
1,500 bars
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Mosquito Nets
800
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Kitchen Sets
340
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Dishes and Plates
100
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Jerry Cans
1,200
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Buckets
1,200
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Bedding Material
5 bales
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Small Quilts
300
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Towels
200
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Used Clothes
10 bales
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Footwear (various)
520
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Hygiene Kits
175 kits
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Medical Kits
2
Three already in stock in Tete
First Aid Bags
30
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Volunteer Cholera Kits
3
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Clean Up Kits
200 boxes
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Gum Boots
50 pairs
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Raincoats
55
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Water Filters
200
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s Stock
Chlorine Tablets


Sodium Hypochlorite

Large quantity for chlorination activities
Miscellaneous Items

Axes, candles, batteries, Red Cross clothing for staff and volunteers, etc.

In addition to the support provided from other donors, the American Red Cross has pledged a donation of US$ 50,000 to cover part of the costs of these items. Further cash is needed to ensure rapid procurement of the additional goods on top of those already delivered or assigned to Tete from the Federation’s most recent disaster contingency stocks.

Latest Events - Zambezia

Flood waters in Zambezia are gradually receding, with the rivers that flooded in the hardest hit district - Maganja da Costa - returning within their banks. However, the gravest problem to assisting those affected by the floods in the province remains one of access. The roads from Pebane to Maganja de Costa, from the district capital to the outlying districts, and from southern Malawi from Milange to Quelimane is cut. Within Maganja da Costa district, the most flood-affected areas remain inaccessible except by helicopter, with the town of Nante one of the worst affected areas. Two medium-lift helicopters were being used in Quelimane, delivering food and non-food items, and allowing assessments of affected areas.

The INGC estimates that a total of approximately 250,000 people are affected by heavy rains and flooding in Zambezia, with 12,000 displaced. However, they stress that this figure is being used by them on which to base public health and water and sanitation activity planning, but should not be used to determine emergency shelter or food aid needs.

The gravest concern surrounds the health risks linked to the lack of adequate water and sanitation. The Mozambique Government’s Minister of Health (MoH) spent much of last week in Zambezia province, orchestrating the public health response, and a MoH team is working in the province on epidemic control. Food and other relief supplies had been airlifted into Zambezia to supply flood victims. Some 200 tonnes arrived last week, according to the INGC, to add to 100 tonnes flown into the province the week before.

It is too early to tell whether the rice crop in affected areas of Zambezia will survive. The Ministry of Agriculture reported that if the water recedes rapidly, much of the crop will survive and the harvest could even be good; if the water does not recede or if additional rain fills the paddies again, much of the crop will be lost. A conclusive assessment in three weeks’ time is planned.

Red Cross Response - Zambezia

The Mozambique Red Cross’s provincial delegation has been concentrating its relief efforts on the provincial capital Quelimane, and the district of Mopeia. A three-person team from Maputo (made up of health, water and sanitation and disaster preparedness specialists) returned to the capital last weekend from an assessment to ascertain future needs. Their main recommendation was to buttress the human, financial and technical resources of the MRCS in Zambezia. The Spanish Red Cross has agreed to support the short-term appointment of a water and sanitation technician to expand National Society efforts in this area, with the relevant equipment and transportation.

Another short-term health technician will be required. A four-by-four vehicle is on its way to the province to allow the provincial MRCS to expand their activities outside the existing target areas. In addition, the following goods dispatched by the Federation arrived in Quelimane on Wednesday 14 February.

Item
No.
Comments
Tarpaulins
100

Plastic Sheeting
200 pieces

Blankets
200
From Mozambique Delegation/CVM’s DPP Stock
Soap
200 bars

Dishes and Plates
200

Bedding Material
5 bales

Small Quilts
300

Towels
200

Used Clothes
2,239 pieces

Footwear (various)
488

Hygiene Kits
350 kits

Volunteer Cholera Kits
3

Clean Up Kits
300 boxes

Gum Boots
100 pairs

Raincoats
100

Water Filters
200

Chlorine Tablets

Large quantity for chlorination activities
Miscellaneous Items

Axes, candles, batteries, etc.

Radio equipment is being procured for the provincial delegation and financial resources for the rent of lorries and other operational expenses has been provided by the MRCS headquarters.

Sofala and Inhambane

The UN estimates that 1,600 people remain affected by flooding in Sofala province. Access is a problem throughout the lower Zambezi and much of Sofala Province with roads periodically impassible due to rainfall or river damage. While the situation this year is not a significant departure from the norm, it badly affects the ability of the humanitarian agencies to reach and support affected communities. As of 8 February, access from Beira on the main northward road to Caia (on the banks of the Zambeze) was extremely difficult, particularly around Dondo. Muchanga and Buzi are both extremely difficult to access except by boat, which is badly hampering the rehabilitation and development activities of the Federation and Mozambique Red Cross in these targeted areas. An assessment is underway by an MRCS/Federation staff to consider what logistical support can be provided from that base.

The Federation’s sub-delegation in Beira is working with the provincial MRCS branch on further disaster preparedness preparations in case the level of flooding deteriorates. The MRCS has dispatched boat to rescue stranded villages cut off by the Pungue River. A lorry containing DP stock is awaiting the possibility of dropping off supplies to three targeted districts. Further DP training in those districts bordering the Zambeze river is also taking place.

Meanwhile in the province of Inhambane the INGC reported torrential rain last week, particularly in the district of Vilanculos, where there had been 229 millimetres of rain in three days.

Outstanding needs

With only 9.1% of the appeal for this year covered, additional cash support is urgently required.

Contributions

See Annex 1 for details covering the List of Contributions for appeals 04/2000, 01.22/2001, and 01.44/2000.

Bekele Geleta
Head
Africa Department

Peter Rees-Gildea
Head a.i.
Relationship Management Department

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