ATLANTA (March 3, 2000) - Though flood waters in Mozambique are reported to have temporarily leveled off, the international relief and development organization CARE continues to provide immediate assistance to thousands of flood victims in the south-central region of the country. Specifically, CARE is managing two emergency centers and supporting a third - distributing food, shelter, blankets and medicines.
The situation in Mozambique is evolving rapidly and CARE is responding accordingly. CARE's country director in Mozambique, Rowland Roome explains, "People have lost their homes, and the drinking water is contaminated, so they face the risk of severe diarrhea and cholera. To prevent outbreaks, CARE is distributing chlorine tablets to purify the water and helping to repair damaged water systems in the Save River area."
CARE workers also are using a global positioning system to direct helicopters to communities where people continue to cling to trees and wait for rescue on rooftops. Additionally, CARE is helping coordinate relief efforts among aid agencies and the government, and is closely monitoring the situation upriver, where dam waters in neighboring Zimbabwe threaten to enter Mozambique's already swollen rivers, coming head-to-head with a cyclone that's predicted to hit the region this weekend.
CARE continues to work in Maputo, the capital, to help repair homes and critical infrastructure that were destroyed due to soil erosion caused by the heavy rains in early February. Working with the local government and engineers, CARE is examining ways to prevent further erosion in this poor, urban district along the Indian Ocean - home to roughly 50,000 people.
"The real effort is getting people back home and resettled after they've lost their roofs or entire home, their livestock, their crops - all of their belongings," adds Roome. "But the major fear now is the deadly risk of renewed tidal surges from the looming cyclone and released dams in neighboring countries."
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. With a staff of nearly 400 people, CARE works in six of the 10 provinces in Mozambique.
CONTACT: Allen Clinton, (404) 681-2552, ext. 206 or Amy Lynn O'Toole, (404) 681-2552 ext. 453