Madagascar + 1 more

UN takes new steps to coordinate aid efforts in Mozambique

Against the backdrop of more relief aid arriving in flood-stricken Mozambique, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today that the water in many areas was receding.
According to a UN spokesman, the humanitarian envoy sent by the Secretary-General has made a helicopter assessment of the Save River basin -- one of the three river basins worst hit by the flooding.

The envoy, Ross Mountain, has also identified lead agencies and set up a mechanism in Maputo to coordinate the work of UN agencies, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. WFP has been charged with logistics and food, and UNICEF, the UN Children's Fund, will be taking the lead in water and sanitation issues.

In other news, UNICEF has received reports that as many as 30 per cent of children in some camps in Mozambique may have been separated from their families. The agency noted that rescue efforts have emphasized children first, which may explain how some children have been separated from family members.

The UN children's agency also said that it was rushing by air shipment more than 15 tonnes of medical supplies and high-energy biscuits to Madagascar, where 600,000 people have been affected by flooding. UNICEF said a cholera epidemic in which 11,000 people have been affected in just the last 12 weeks could be exacerbated by the disaster.