Dateline ACT Mozambique 6/00: Steps to Progress...

News and Press Release
Originally published
Geneva, March 10, 2000
By Elaine Eliah

"I really like to see the IFRC people taking goods from our warehouse because I believe they will get the supplies to the people who really need help," said Monica Ginja. The 34 year-old secretary at Lutheran World Federation was recently promoted from her air-conditioned desk-job to an emergency position, which includes truck loading. Monica, along with a team from the International Federation of the Red Cross started up at 8:30 Wednesday morning, worked through lunch and finished up sometime around mid-afternoon.

"If you stay too long with the things in the warehouse," said Monica, smiling at the suggestion that she might feel overworked, "you feel like you are not helping."

What made the job easier was the size of the workforce IFRC brought with them. All volunteers, they stuck with the job until everything had been trucked from LWF's warehouse to Maputo airport. Volunteerism is alive and well here in Mozambique regardless of how tough the work can be. Knowing that Monica works for LWF, some of her friends told her. "If you need help, tell us, and we will come to help." It's not the time for us to think about this money, money, money."

They're too busy thinking about the people in Xai Xai and Chibuto, two cities northeast of Maputo, which lying beside the still-flooded Elephant River. Both have experienced total failure of their water treatment systems and will welcome the 64,000 water purification tablets speeding their way. They'll also find 1100 kitchen sets, which cooking and eating utensils. One hundred rolls of 4m-x60m plastic sheeting may help keep many families dry as rain continues to fall in Southern Mozambique.

While Monica and one team from IFRC loaded trucks, another team unloaded them into two helicopters waiting at the airport, one destined for Chibuto and the other for Xai Xai. Many helicopters were dispatched during the day for different destinations in the flood-ravaged country. They left the tarmac as soon as they were loaded and the supplies had reached their destinations before dark

Reports that flood damage had been repaired and the road to Chokwè reopened was welcome news to LWF that has a long-term development project in the Gaza Region. Thursday morning Georgia Mbuga set out for Chokwè, not as LWF's Project Officer for Human Rights and Health for Women, which is the title she holds at the office, but as Nurse/Midwife Georgia. She'll be armed with a medical kit large enough to cater to 10,000 people. She'll also be carrying blankets, protein biscuits and plastic sheeting for emergency sheltering.

Also heading to Chokwè are engineers Andreas Koestler and David Banks. They were sent to Mozambique by Norwegian Church Aid to help resurrect water treatment facilities in affected areas. They'll be upgrading sanitation to help prevent water-born disease to stem further suffering for this nation that has certainly had its fill.

Already the engineers have assessed water and sanitation needs for Congolote, the new urban settlement that will accommodate 1500 families. Five hundred of these are from the Trevo community and other areas of the city, which LWF has adopted for priority aid since their entire neighborhood was wiped out when Mozambique's first flood-hit Maputo in February. Many of these families have already received emergency plastic sheeting and are ready to be transported to their new home sites as soon as plot numbers are assigned.

Elaine Eliah is the ACT Press Officer in the ACT-LWF Office in Maputo.

Contacts at LWF Office:
Phone: +258 1 49 11 85 or 49 16 10
Fax: +258 1 49 16 12
Personal e-mail:
Office e-mail: Remains to be confirmed but try addressing Elaine through the LWF Director Philip Wijmans at:

Thank you for your attention.

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.