FAO has launched an urgent international appeal for US$2.5 million to help flood-stricken farmers in Mozambique. It is estimated that more than 300 000 farmers and their families have been severely affected by the worst floods in the country in 40 years.
"The world is witnessing a human tragedy of enormous scope in Mozambique," said FAO's Director-General Jacques Diouf. "A disaster of this scope would tax the resources of even the most advanced of countries. But, in the case of a developing country like Mozambique, the means to cope are just not there."
Torrential rains began in Mozambique at the beginning of February, particularly in the southern and central provinces. The floods have destroyed houses and roads, killed huge numbers of livestock and washed away vital crops. Preliminary estimates suggest that over100 000 ha of fields planted with maize, beans, rice, sweet potatoes, peanuts and vegetables have been destroyed or seriously damaged.
As soon as the floodwaters recede, FAO's Special Relief Operations Service and Mozambique's Ministry of Agriculture will organize the distribution of emergency seed packages and farm tools and coordinate veterinary support. The seeds will be procured locally and each package will contain 10 kg of maize, 3 kg of beans and 10 g each of tomato, onion and cabbage. They will be distributed in collaboration with other UN agencies, NGOs, local authorities and farmers' associations.
"I want to urge the international community and individuals everywhere to support the emergency relief efforts of all the UN agencies and non-governmental organizations working in Mozambique," Dr Diouf said.
The FAO appeal is part of the United Nations Inter-Agency Appeal launched together with the government of Mozambique. An in-depth field assessment will be sent to Mozambique as soon as the conditions allow.