ACT Alert Mozambique - No. 1/2000: Floods Lash Southern Mozambique

Geneva, 9 February 2000
The rainy season, which began in January this year instead of in March as usual, is causing huge problems in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane and Sofala.

In Maputo 300 to 350 mm of rain fell in a period of 18 hours on 6 and 7 February and public transport is not functioning. The road linking Maputo to Swaziland and South Africa is closed, and even the nearby industrial zone of Matola has been cut off.

Downtown Maputo in the baixa (low area), where most of the large commercial offices are located, is totally flooded, and many businesses have suffered damage. The suburbs where most people live are even worse with serious mud slides in some parts, especially where construction has taken place on hill sides. Many houses have been destroyed or even washed away, drainage systems barely exist and the residents have lost everything.

The Prime Minister, Dr Pascoal Mocumbi, said that "Maputo hasn't had floods like this since 1952."

Connections between the south and north of Mozambique are also affected. In the central province of Inhambane, normally semi-arid, the rains are the heaviest in twenty years. The situation in Sofala province is also worrisome, because of the many rivers which cross it and suburbs of the city of Beira are already flooded.

With the floods come health problems * diarrhea, cholera, and diseases of the skin all result from contaminated water, not to mention malaria as a result of increased breeding grounds for the mosquitoes.

An appeal may or may not be forthcoming depending on further information to be received from ACT members Christian Council of Mozambique and the Lutheran World Federation/Department of World Service, Mozambique.

Thank you for your attention.

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response. The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

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