Latest update on floods in Southern Africa

Report
from Christian Aid
Published on 25 May 2000
Appeal funds
Funds raised by Christian Aid's Horn of Africa appeal has provided grants for partners in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi and Madagascar. The money will continue to be used to support emergency and rehabilitation activities over the next twelve months.

General update on Mozambique

The end of the rainy season in Mozambique has brought heavy storms but the country is now benefiting from the cooler, drier weather of winter. There are, however, still signs of flooding and flood damage in many fields. Several rivers are at very high levels and many fields remain submerged by the floodwaters. Maize and sugar cane crops are rotting in many water-logged fields. Where the water has drained away, all that remains are vast areas of brown grasses and uprooted trees.

The main road that links north to south is still cut in many places and some towns and communities in Gaza province such as Xai-Xai and Guija are only accessible by helicopter or by boat. The local communities and district authorities have carried out temporary repairs and have re-established the main railway line which is essential for commerce.

The government of Mozambique and the World Food Programme (WFP) have now stopped providing food in some of the temporary accommodation centres to encourage people to return home. Organisations such as the Christian Council Mozambique (CCM) and the Rural Association for Mutual Support (ORAM) in Mozambique are training workers to build new homes for those who have lost their homes.

As they return, many are turning their focus on re-establishing their communities and villages. This is a very important process since many villages were divided between different accommodation centres after the floods. In some cases children were temporarily separated from parents. As villagers come back together again there is a lot of discussion about the floods. The atmosphere of sharing and support is very obvious as people try to regain a sense of normality.

International Conference on Reconstruction

The government of Mozambique put forward a request for US $450 million to international donors at the International Conference on Reconstruction that took place at the beginning of May. The government has since received pledges of support for up to US $453 million.

The response to the request seems to be one of overall support for the plans of the government and other agencies to rebuild Mozambique after the devastating floods during February and March. It confirms the international community's confidence in the government of Mozambique and the agencies, and in their ability to effectively carry out the reconstruction of the economy and the shattered infrastructure. The government of Mozambique has also emphasised the need for grants not loans to a country that has previously been crippled by loan repayments.

The distribution of the grants include: US $24.5 million for the resettlement of those families and communities made homeless as a result of the floods; US $120 million for rebuilding roads and bridges and rehabilitating railway systems and air transport facilities; US $63 million for the agricultural sector to provide new tools and livestock as well as for loan schemes for small-scale farmers reliant on farming.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), more than ten per cent of the agricultural land has been damaged by the floods, at least 20,000 head of cattle have died and 90 per cent of the irrigation systems have been destroyed. The estimated cost of rehabilitating the tourism industry and other areas of industry is US $38.1 million - the government also hopes to provide training and support for new businesses from this fund. The cost of rebuilding and rehabilitating public services and public buildings, and strengthening the capacity of civil servants to respond to the needs of the community is estimated at US $36.6 million.

The pledges made so far include US $44.8 million from the UK, US $130 million from the United States and US $60 million from the European Union.

General update on Madagascar

The Church of Jesus Christ, Department for Development in Madagascar (FJKM) has been given most of the £30,000 grant from the ACT International appeal for Madagascar.

FJKM have provided 5kgs of rice and maize seed to each of 25,000 families who lost their harvest as a result of the cyclones and subsequent floods. Three thousand families have received resettlement kits containing blankets, mosquito nets, soap and anti-cholera water treatment kits. Three thousand families will also have been given housing kits to rebuild their homes.

Over the next few months 83 community leaders and FJKM community development workers will be trained in disaster assessment techniques and will learn prevention and mitigation strategies for the future. Food for work programmes, where people are paid with food in return for rebuilding and rehabilitating their homes and communities, will also be taking place in the next few months.

CCAP in Malawi

Christian Aid has approved a grant of £61,435 to the Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian at Livingstonia (CCAP Livingstonia) for its relief work with flood-affected villages in Karonga district in northern Malawi. This part of Malawi was severely affected by floods towards the end of March. Most of the crops in the area - maize, rice and cassava - were damaged and many livestock were lost. The flood also left 22,500 people from 34 villages homeless - some took refuge in the local concrete school buildings.

CCAP Livingstonia has worked tirelessly with the government officials in Karonga district as well as with church leaders and villagers. Another Christian Aid-funded partner, Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD), has also been working with the relief effort.

Thousands of families have been given extra food supplements to prevent malnutrition as they wait for the next harvest of their crops. Seeds and seedlings of maize, rice and cassava, as well as sweet potatoes have been distributed and will provide a harvest in June and July.

How you can help

Donations to Christian Aid's southern Africa appeal are very welcome. They can be made using a CAF, Switch, credit or debit card by calling (44) (0)345 000 300 or cheques marked 'Christian Aid' can be sent to Christian Aid, PO Box 100, London, SE1 7RT .

Copyright © Christian Aid 1999