IFRC President calls on Southern African governments to further invest in Red Cross to help those facing drought and flood damages

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22 February, Maputo, Mozambique – While meeting Mozambique Prime Minister, Dr. Alberto Vaquina, the president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mr. Tadateru Konoé, today called on his government, as well as all governments in southern Africa to increase their support to Red Cross National Societies so they can truly fulfil their auxiliary role in the face of increasing disasters.

“Flooding is currently affecting or threatening to affect all ten countries in this region,” said President Konoé. “The Red Cross currently has emergency operations in five of these countries. If we are to truly meet our mandate to improve the lives of those most vulnerable, we need the support of governments, both financially, but also in terms of enacting legislation to ease import of human resources and material goods in response to these recurring emergencies.”

While in Mozambique, President Konoé visited Gaza province, the region most affected by flooding. He commended Red Cross volunteers for their hard work, and reminded both local and international donors that emergency assistance is needed now. “Since the onset of the floods, Red Cross volunteers have been helping to evacuate and rescue stranded citizens. They have provided, and continue to provide first aid, and distribute necessary items like blankets and tents. People are now eager to return home. However, international support is urgently needed as pre-positioned stocks have run out,

Beyond the emergency phase, there is an acute need to also support quick recovery for thousands of families affected by the cycle of drought and floods that have destroyed crops, livestocks and livelihoods, insisted President Konoé. ‘People here have to rebuild their life from zero. In the face of an increasing number of silent disasters, we need to support them in coping with shocks and despair in the long term.”

The IFRC has launched an emergency appeal to support the Mozambique Red Cross as they assist 15,000 displaced people over the coming months. Given the evolving situation on the ground, that appeal is now being revised upwards to respond to the emergency and support the recovery phase for a further 15,000 people.

For more information or interviews contact:

In Mozambique:

Katherine Mueller, Communication Manager, IFRC Africa Mobile: +251 930 033 413

In Gabarone:

Hanna Butler, Regional Communications Officer, southern Africa Mobile: +267 371 2738

In Geneva:

Jessica Sallabank, Senior Media Officer, IFRC Mobile: +41 799 481 148