100,000 await rescue in Mozambique - on church roofs and bridges

Maputo, Mozambique, and Baltimore, March 1, 2000 -- As many as 100,000 people in Mozambique need rescue urgently, according to aid workers with Lutheran World Relief partner organizations after the latest assessments of the situation there.
"People have sought refuge on the roofs of churches and houses," said one aid worker after a helicopter survey of flood-stricken Gaza province yesterday. Some waved asking to be picked up by their small aircraft, she said. Only eight military helicopters made available by neighboring South Africa have the crew, gear and load capacity to make such rescues, however. They have airlifted 6,000 people from rooftops and trees in several days of shuttle flights. LWR and agencies of the interchurch emergency alliance, ACT, are concentrating on emergency food, shelter and resettlement for victims of the floods (see story below).

"The town of Xai Xai is a shock," said Phillip Wijmans of ACT-Lutheran World Federation. Entire neighborhoods have disappeared. Only radio masts and three-story buildings rise above the flood. "People live with their goods on the roofs," Wijmans said, "Others are stranded on the Limpopo Bridge."

Even in areas where the waters have receded somewhat, such as the Limpopo River town of Chokwe, further flood crests are possible. Some residents are returning, but authorities in Maputo say the threat is still too great for that.


Baltimore, March 1, 2000 -- Lutheran World Relief is helping partner organizations in flood-damaged areas of Mozambique and South Africa provide emergency food, shelter and stocks of much-needed seeds. As many as one million people in the two countries have suffered losses from extensive flooding after a recent cyclone and a month of rains. Many survivors are still cut off by floodwaters. Rescue and relief transportation is limited and new storms are threatening the affected areas.

Lutheran World Federation has supplied food to 1,100 families in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, and another town, Matola. LWF is also implementing a $1.1 million plan to resettle 1,700 families to safer areas, provide food and survival kits to nearly 700 families and distribute agricultural seeds to 5,000 families. Much of the work is in areas where the LWR partner agency has been active for years carrying out post-war rehabilitation and refugee resettlement.

A 50-ton shipment of blankets, quilts and kits from LWR has also just arrived in Mozambique. The relief supplies, worth $475,000, were requested by LWF late last year for use in non-emergency work but have arrived in this time of greatly increased need.

In neighboring South Africa, the South African Council of Churches and the Lutheran church are preparing food, blankets and temporary shelter for as many as 17,000 flood and cyclone victims in three northeastern provinces. Local churches are also participating in the relief effort in Mozambique.

A $1.9 million appeal for emergency aid in both countries has been issued by Action by Churches Together. LWR has allocated $30,000 in emergency funds and is appealing for donations for Mozambique and South Africa.

Donations for Mozambique flood survivors help provide food, basic household items, shelter, seeds and more.

  • $34 will provide basic food for one family for two months (rice, corn, oil, sugar and salt).
  • $46 will buy a family survival kit of basic household kitchen and shelter items.
  • $10 will provide enough maize, beans and peanut seeds for a subsistence farmer to start over.
  • $1,500 will help one family resettle and rebuild for themselves in a community with a clean water supply, sanitation and a health clinic.

LWR is accepting contributions towards the relief efforts in Mozambique and South Africa.

For credit card donations, call LWR below, or give on-line.

Lutheran World Relief
PO Box 17061
Baltimore, MD 21298-9832
(800) 597-5972

ELCA World Hunger Appeal
PO Box 71764
Chicago, IL 60694-1764
(800) 638-3522

LCMS World Relief
PO Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-9810
(888) 930-4438