CWS emergency appeal: Mozambique arsenal explosions

Appeal Number 641-Q

Appeal Amount: $20,000

SITUATION: A massive March 22 fire and subsequent series of explosions erupted at the Malhazine Paiol (armory) located near Maputo International Airport in Maputo, Mozambique. Among the items housed within the armory were many obsolete Russian-made 150 kg rockets and other munitions left over from Mozambique's civil war which ended in 1992.

More than 100 were killed in the accident and more than 400 injured as a result of the initial explosion and the 15 subsequent hours in which obsolete missiles and munitions ignited and rained down on surrounding neighorhoods. The most heavily affected areas were those immediately surrounding the armory, yet official reports indicate rockets were found throughout a 6-mile radius.

RESPONSE: As an immediate response, the Church World Service Southern Africa Regional Office in Mozambique supported the Transforming Arms to Ploughshares (TAE) Team of the Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM) which has experience in munitions disposal, and has trained technicians on staff. On March 23, the TAE team began working under the coordination of government authorities to remove unexploded munitions and shrapnel dispersed throughout the surrounding areas. The removal program continues, focusing now on rockets which require more technical extraction.

It is estimated that more than 6,000 rockets and munitions have been collected and returned to the government/armory. It should be noted that a group of CWS supporters from Michigan provided some initial financial support to help cover the costs of these clean-up efforts undertaken by TAE-CCM.

In addition to the weapons collection work of the TAE team, CCM leadership has also been actively engaged in advocating for the relocation of the armory. In May, the government began daily convoys to remove the weapons to an area approximately 45 kilometers away from Maputo city. In this new location, the government has also conducted controlled explosions for destruction/disposal of obsolete munitions.

In April, following the explosion, the public throughout Maputo and Mozambique openly questioned the government about both the cause of the explosions and the government's intended response (recompense to those affected). The government's reaction varied from one day to the next. This, naturally, angered the community even more.

Church World Service has now turned its attention to a child-led fund drive to benefit children affected by the emergency. This has been the result of not only acknowledging the importance of asking critical questions about an official response to the event, but finding ways to support a more 'optimistic and hands-on' perspective of youth. In an attempt to 'engage,' rather than be 'enraged,' CWS and its youth-related partners in Mozambique are involved in a campaign to present a positive example to not simply the government, but the population as a whole.

FUND CAMPAIGN: The goal of this fund-campaign is to demonstrate what children and youth can do and are doing today for the future and to partner with them in those efforts. Specifically, the children and youth will demonstrate their ability to assist those in need, thus helping to serve at least 40 households of children severely affected by the Mozambique armory explosion in the hopes that others will see and imitate their example of a positive and effective response.

The specific objectives of this campaign are:

1) To consolidate the positive efforts of youth (CWS partner groups), and visibly demonstrate the capacities of youth assist others.

2) To engage the Maputo population in a child-led fund drive that will contribute at least $3,500 to child-focused rehabilitation and social service efforts.

3) To respond to the house repair needs of at least 40 children and their families (20 households) severely affected by the explosions.

4) To respond with wheel chairs (and other apparatus) for at least 20 children disabled by the explosions.

The campaign coincides with the commemoration on June 1 of International Children's Day. With the coordination of the Church World Service Southern Africa Regional Office, representatives from the group of Child Activists of the Christian Council of Mozambique's youth department, and children participating in the Child-to-Child Program of Radio Mozambique, have joined together to lead a Maputo-wide fund drive to gather support for this response.

Coordinated by the youth leadership of these organizations, the celebration is the culmination of a pre-June 1 campaign which seeks to raise the visibility of children's / youth's capacities. The campaign focuses a spotlight, including radio spots and television appearances, on the dreams, hopes and capabilities of children.

On June 1, the campaign will conclude with a day in which children demonstrate their abilities across Maputo in a city-wide fund drive. Throughout the day youth will be found in teams around town working to guard and/or wash cars; as well as working with various Maputo-based restaurants which have offered to solicit US $ 1 (26 Meticais) per client to contribute to the day's fund-raising efforts.

As an incentive to the youth and local contributors to the campaign, the CWS Emergency Response Program (ERP) is launching this appeal to match US $2 for every dollar raised by the Maputo youth, plus providing any balance needed beyond that to complete the response activities outlined in this appeal.

Direct and Indirect Target Population:

Direct Beneficiaries: An estimated 60 children and their families (an estimated 40 households) in the Malhazine area that have been affected by unexploded ordinances which have rendered them disabled, and/or have damaged or destroyed their homes.

Indirect Beneficiaries: An estimated 100 children and youth participating in the Child-Led Fund Campaign, including children from CCM Youth Activist Group, Radio Mozambique Children's Program and the 10thgrade classes of two Maputo-city High Schools.


Costs - Campaign Implementation: $2,370.77

Revenue Secured for Campaign Implementation: $1,680.77 (from local Mozambique business sponsors)

Balance Needed from Church World Service (ERP) for Campaign Implementation: $690.00

Costs for House Rehabilitation (20): $17,000

Costs for Wheel Chairs (20): $4,400

CWS Communication & Transportation (@ 6%): $1,284

Anticipated Revenue from Mozambique Fund Drive: $3,500

Balance Needed from Church World Service Emergency Response: $19,184.00

TOTAL Requested Appeal / Support from CWS-ERP & Member Communions: $19,874.00

Contributions to support this emergency appeal may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515. Please designate: Appeal #641-Q: Mozambique Arsenal Explosions.

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding - or to make a credit card contribution - please visit the Church World Service Website at or phone (800) 297-1516.

CWS Emergency Response Program special contacts: (212) 870-3151; Executive Director: Donna Derr,
International Associate: Fidele Lumeya,
Domestic Associate: Linda Reed Brown,
CWS / ERP web site: