UPDATE 23 MARCH
At this point, water has not risen as high in Chokwe as many feared it might, but levels are still rising and reports are that it is still raining in South Africa. This runoff, coupled with a dam that may be forced to open might still cause further rise in river levels. Anticipating possible problems, personnel on the ground in Chokwe secured warehouse space in Mapapa, some twenty kilometers away on higher ground. We are currently shipping supplies, plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, and protein biscuits by truck and helicopter to the new warehouse.
One of the water treatment units that arrived from Norway earlier in the week has been lent to Oxfam and sent to augment Chiaquelane settlement camp's system. The camp received an influx of new arrivals when Chokwe residents were encouraged to evacuate the town in anticipation of rising waters. Two borehole pumps were lent to Tear Fund to clean out boreholes in flooded areas they were working.
In Moamba, Knut and David have a treatment system almost ready to go. Their initial problem was getting the one-ton unit off the truck. Challenge number two came when they faced a new model floating intake unit which was sent instead of a stationary land mounted unit the engineers were accustomed to. They did however manage to anchor the floating intake despite fast moving river water. The system will be operational as soon as electricians stabilize power to the treatment unit. Water will then be trucked to Moamba town by a truck loaded with a bladder tank.
LWF/CEDES are about to settle the first families into Congolote, the settlement planned by Maputo Municipality even before the flood. Engineer David Banks inspected the first borehole yesterday where the contractor had already reached the appropriate 50 meters and was working to enlarge the hole. Arrangements for the next drillings have already been made with the same contractor - Senhor Aqua.
We are inviting local press to be there in Congolote when our first families arrive. This will take place Friday. Of course we had to promise them lunch - it's standard operating practice here in Africa. I am planning to hand out ACT pamphlets and LWF information - along with a press release of basic information. We may get a chance to include BBC-TV if they don't leave too early tomorrow morning. Even if the world of disaster news is rather exhausted by Mozambique, one positive note about funding really making a difference might be usable.
Agronomist Philip Tonks joined the staff at LWF today. He will be finalizing procurement of seeds and tools and helping farmers to obtain the best harvest they can. Seeds have already been purchased by USAID and arrived in Maputo courtesy World Relief and the US Embassy/Military.
Elaine Eliah is a press officer currently working for ACT-.LWF in Mozambique.
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.