Dateline ACT Mozambique 13/00

Report
from Action by Churches Together International
Published on 24 Mar 2000
By Elaine Eliah
UPDATE 24 MARCH

Five people were killed and at least another ten injured when a mob swarmed an relief truck arriving at Chiaquelane settlement. According to government reports this morning, an NGO vehicle arrived announced and was overtaken by a seemingly desperate crowd before local authorities could intercede to supervise orderly distribution. One helicopter crew flying overhead took photographs of what they described as a mass surrounding a truck that seemed to have been involved in an accident.

With Chokwe residents being re-evacuated due to rising waters in the Limpopo River, Chiaquelane camp has swelled considerably. Government reports put the number of occupants at 80,000. The situation was less than comfortable with half that number and must certainly be desperate at this point. The INGC is talking about opening a second camp in the area. It sounds like an additional camp will be needed if this second rise in water levels discourages Chokwe citizens from further attempts to go home.

The water in Chokwe at 1:30 pm today had not risen significantly according to reports from the manager of a commercial cotton estate who had just visited the area. He said that Chokwe town is pretty much deserted.

Our attempt yesterday to send Chiaquelane camp water equipment ran into difficulty when truck problems delayed its arrival until late evening. Oxfam confirmed they have the pump and two bladder tanks in their Macia warehouse and that they will be put into service tomorrow.

Our Congolote resettlement plans for today had to be postponed until tomorrow. Normal logistics involved in the relocation proved more than we anticipated. Several members of the local press expressed interest in making a visit with us and they will hopefully be interested enough to give up part of their weekend for the sake of news (and a free meal).

World Relief has agreed to sell to us a number of the seed and tool kits from their stores already here in Mozambique. We will then arrange for distribution to villages where LWF had already established long-term relationships with farmers prior to the flooding. Philip Tonks, our new agronomist, has communicated to parties involved and the seeds should be available for distribution next week. We*re going to have to divide out the quantities into individual allotments. Monica mentioned some of her friends were interested in some volunteer work. Maybe LWF staff families might want to pitch in. We'll get it done.

Christian Larssen, a full-time employee with DanChurchAid, joined the team yesterday to investigate needs in Mozambique for de-mining.

Kelly too joined the team yesterday to take over as program coordinator. He spent the day with Philip Wijmans touring the Moamba water project.

I'll most likely write another update over the weekend that should be on your desk when you come in Monday morning. This Sunday I*ll also begin working on my hand over report as I will be flying out of Maputo 6:30 Wednesday morning.

THE END

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.