CONTACT: Amy Lynn O'Toole, (404) 681-4579 ext. 453
ATLANTA (February 15, 2000) - The international relief and development organization CARE is helping families in the south of Mozambique recover from deadly floods that swept through southern Africa last week following days of torrential rain. The flooding has left more than 100,000 people homeless and has claimed the lives of more than 40 people in Mozambique.
"The flood waters gouged out huge gullies in some of the poorest areas of Maputo, the capital city," reports Marge Tsitouris, director of CARE's emergency group. "In Polana Canico, a long strip of densely-packed, low-income housing is now a gully 50 feet deep and some 800 feet long. All you can see are the tops of the houses in the ditch and all around, there are large, uprooted trees and fallen electricity lines."
CARE is focusing its relief efforts on Polana Canico in coordination with the municipal council. CARE already manages an urban project there designed to improve economic and social conditions.
A cash-for-work program is offering an immediate source of income for people to survive on. CARE is paying more than 70 workers to clear thousands of tons of silt from aged, long-neglected storm drains to prevent the gullies from further expanding and destroying the community's homes, schools and critical infrastructure.
"In the longer term, CARE will be working with engineers to find technical solutions for making the area's homes and infrastructure more stable and secure," notes Tsitouris. "People shouldn't be forced to live crowded together on steep hillsides where they are vulnerable to heavy rains and floods. CARE's goal is to improve their living conditions to prevent future destruction."
CARE is one of the world's largest private relief and development organizations, with projects in more than 60 countries. CARE began working in Mozambique in 1986 to help people affected by civil war. Since then, CARE has continued to distribute food and offer other emergency assistance. It has expanded its development work to include small economic activity development, agriculture and natural resources, and health and water.