FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 1-2/00 - Mozambique

Torrential rains in the first dekad of February in the south of the country has resulted in the worst floods in 50 years, causing a large number of deaths and considerable damage to infrastructure and housing. Many towns have become isolated due to the destruction of roads and bridges, while continuous rains are hindering evacuation and relief operations. As a result of contamination of drinking water, diseases such as malaria and cholera are expected in the coming weeks. The number of the people severely affected by the floods is currently estimated at 300 000 but is rising. Worst affected area is the province of Maputo; the number of displaced people in the cities of Maputo and Matola is estimated at 150 000. The Government has appealed for US$2.7 million in international assistance to cope with the emergency but this amount does not include the cost of food assistance. WFP is currently distributing emergency food aid to 150 000 persons in the country.
The outlook for this year's cereal harvest is poor. Anticipated crop losses in southern parts will add to planting reductions due to erratic and highly localized rains since the beginning of the season in November. An assessment of the agricultural and crop losses is underway. However, preliminary indications point to an urgent need for seeds and tools to increase plantings profiting from water recession.