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Mozambique floods: Update 10 Mar 2000

As Mozambique's worst floods in living memory recede, WFP's humanitarian operation faces a new challenge: feeding and helping to resettle hundreds of thousands of people.

WFP has started airlifting 400 tons of food aid to flood affected areas on the eastern coast. Towns badly hit by cyclones Eline and Gloria, and in need of assistance, include Mahanoro, Antalaha, Vatomandry and Belo-Tsiribihina.


With search and rescue missions nearly complete, WFP, in coordination with the military, is now overseeing the distribution and delivery of food and other aid to 250,000 people in 74 reception centers.

WFP has set-up logistics bases at the capital city of Maputo and, 700 kilometers further north, in the port of Beira. Squadrons of WFP-coordinated helicopters are flying food out of these centers to the flooded Limpopo valley in the south and, further north, the Save river valley. But, as river levels drop and roads are repaired, the Agency plans to shift from air to land transport to deliver food.

On Wednesday, WFP sent its first 15 tonne truck, laden with food aid, down the main road from Beira to Save. On Tuesday, the first truckload of food since the beginning of the disaster reached Macia.

Lack of communications systems has been a severe handicap in Mozambique. But WFP's technical experts are setting-up a telecom and IT network linking reception camps at Masia, Xai-Xai and Choqwe with our logistic centers and the outside world.

Updates from the Field

March 10, 2000


Buffalo transport aircraft, based at Beira and capable of carrying eight tons of food and non-food aid, is making 4-5 flights to Save, WFP's main distribution center for the river valley.

From Save, helicopters are shuttling the food to principal reception centers such as Machenga (40,000 internally displaced persons), Nova Mambone (15-17,000 IDPs) and Doane (5,000 IDPs).

At Machenga, WFP estimates that 90 percent of the total provincial population of 43,000 have lost their homes in the flood.

This weekend WFP expects to send a convoy of four 26 ton food trucks down the main highway from Beira to Save, reducing the reliance on helicopters (limited to two tons each).

Beira has also become the main logistics center for food delivery to the Chibuto area, where there are four reception camps and an estimated 15,000 IDPs.


WFP Beira is using a local ferry, the "Zambezi" (capacity 45 tons) to ferry food aid across the river to Buzi.

Floods have swamped the homes of an estimated 24,500 people in the river-side town of Buzi with a further 12,000 affected in the surrounding countryside.

WFP's flotilla of small rescue craft, supplied by the United States and South Africa, together with three US Blackhawk helicopters, are also shuttling food up river to secondary delivery points.


After heavy rains temporarily grounded helicopters for 24 hours, WFP resumed its airlift operation on Friday with the port of Palmeira acting as the main transport hub. Food aid is being trucked from Maputo to Palmeira.

Airlifts remain vital to WFP's food aid operation south of the river Limpopo, where 24 hours of heavy rains washed away the local authorities' makeshift attempts at patching up the roads.

40 tons of food aid have been delivered to the Chiqualene camp (57,000 IDPs) and 20 tons to Chokwe (12,000 IDPs) but the plight continues to worry aid officials. People are sleeping and living outside increasing the risk of disease.


Trevor Rowe:
Office +39 06 6513 2602
Mobile +39 348 6099463

Francis Mwanza
Office +39 06 65132623

Jeffrey Rowland
Office +39 06 6513 2971

Mozambique Maputo:
Brenda Barton
Mobile +258 82 316642

Lindsey Davies
Mobile +258 82 316 642

Mozambique Beira:
Abigail Spring
Office +258 3 326 203/327 944

Christiane Berthiaume
Office +41 79 285 7304

Copyright © 2000, World Food Programme. All rights reserved.