International Response Update: Mozambique - Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 99/0046
International Response Update
Mozambique - Floods
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
11 March 1999

1. An assessment mission comprising the Representatives of the Government of Mozambique, the UN Resident Coordinator and of the Donor Community was carried out on 10 March in the Northern districts of Inhambane Province which have been particularly hit by floods (an area about 700 kilometres north of the capital Maputo).

The floods have been caused by torrential rains in the last days of February but the rains have been falling since the end of 1998. For example, in Vilankulo (Inhambane Province),the rainfall amounted to 575 mm in 6 days, that is 60% of the mean annual rainfall.

The number of isolated people cannot yet be assessed in spite of the fact that a survey was conducted with helicopters in the Northern coastal Region from Vilankulo to Inhassaro and Bazaruto Island.

There are 23 dead, but 70,000 people are affected of which 6,000 are displaced. The affected areas are normally drought prone with farming systems typified by shifting cultivation with cassava and groundnuts as main staple foods and maize and beans as secondary crops. A first estimate of 40,000 hectares of arable land being flooded needs to be confirmed with up-dated satellite images.

The main highway which crosses the country North-South is also under water in some places and where the water has receded, the hard surface has been washed away and huge craters have opened up. The secondary road network is also seriously affected, impeding assessment and localisation of isolated population.

2. WFP has started on 5 March an airlift carrying food and other relief items from Beira airport, using a C-130 cargo airplane. The other transport assets are 2 helicopters and 6 airplanes (2 tons capacity each) provided by South Africa for 10 days and 2 ships (100 tons each) operating from Beira.

3. On 3 March, the Government of Mozambique launched an international appeal for assistance for a total of USD 12,4 million to assist the victims and repair damages to the infrastructure. The appeal covers USD 2,700,000 for food aid, USD 1,716,750 in survival items such as tents, clothes, soap), USD 742,748 for health expenses (insecticides, medicines), USD 763,202 for transport and distribution, USD 1,458,333 for agricultural support (tools, seeds), USD 4,350,000 for repair to infrastructure and USD 595,655 for water (treatment, inflatable boats, etc.)

4. At the request of the UN Resident Co-ordinator, a meeting will be held on 12 March with the Donor community and Government entities for the announcement of pledges. Priorities are the rehabilitation of road access, repair to bridges in order to facilitate the localisation and rescue of isolated population and to reestablish the local trade.

An immediate support in health care to avoid the spread of malaria and diarrhoeal diseases including cholera has to be provided as well as for the relief and survival items for the 6,000 displaced people.

5. International assistance has already started: the USA has provided USD 25.000 for transport and OCHA, with the support of the Italian Government, has sent a relief flight which landed on 8 March in Maputo which consignee was the Ministry of Health of Mozambique. It was carrying Italian funded relief items from OCHA's Pisa warehouse: tents, ropes, plastic rolls, tool kits, motor pumps, water tanks and health kits from WHO. Flight and relief items have a value of USD 227,000. UNDP has contributed USD 50.000 to the Government of Mozambique.

The government of South Africa has sent 5 aircrafts with personnel to help in the coastal areas, value of operation estimated at USD 322,000.

6. OCHA is closely monitoring the situation through the office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Maputo, one OCHA officer has joined the relief flight and monitors the distribution of the relief items brought in country.

7. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies is also available on the OCHA Website at :

Telephone number: + 41 22 917 1234, in case of emergency: + 41 22 917 2010
Desk Officers for Africa, OCHA Disaster Relief Branch:
Mr. K. Wiersing: + 41 22 917 2270, Mr. G. de Montravel: + 41 22 917 1481,
Fax: + 41 22 917 0023
Press contact: Ms. E. Ponomareva, tel: + 41 22 917 2336

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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