By Wilson Gama
Belita Carlito and her family are among 300,000 people who were displaced from their homes by floods that affected the northern and central provinces of Mozambique from January onwards. After the initial shock, their lives have started to improve.
“All of a sudden, we were forced to flee our home and leave all our belongings behind,” says Belita Carlito (42), now in Gugurune resettlement centre, Zambézia province. “We lost everything but the food we’re getting from WFP comes at the right time and gives us some hope.”
Belita is among the families who used to live in Mongonhane village on the other side of the Licungo River. Now Belita, her husband Carlos and their three children find themselves living in tents about 250 kms north of Quelimane, the capital of Zambézia province.
Most of the families accommodated in Mongonhane lost their houses and crops, sometimes taking cover in trees to escape the rising water. The government has allocated them fields near the camp in which they can grow crops.
“With the food we are getting from the WFP, we have enough to eat for coming weeks,” says Belita. “Now we can focus on our new life here and work in the fields where we produce rice and cassava. From what we harvest, we will be able to sell a portion. We will use most of the money to buy basic items and clothing for our three children.”
Gugurune camp has been used by the Mozambican government to resettle flood affected communities for the past three years.
“Our biggest concern was to get food to the hungry fast,” says WFP Emergency Coordinator Johannes Braun. “Access by road proved to be a huge constraint, even after the rains stopped. Thanks to our donors, we were able to deploy an Mi-8 helicopter which helped reach the most isolated communities.”
Together with the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) and the Humanitarian Country Team, WFP has been providing assistance to 60,000 people since January. Now, during the recovery period – May to June – the plan is to support 100,000 people in rebuilding their lives and livelihoods in the most affected province, Zambézia. These numbers may increase, however, as the situation is still fluid and the extent of the damage is still being assessed.
WFP is assisting about a quarter of a million disaster-affected people in Mozambique with relief and recovery interventions and 8,000 refugees and asylum seekers mainly in Nampula province. At the same time, WFP is supporting the government’s disaster risk management capacity with technical assistance, vulnerability mapping and leadership training.