Mozambique + 1 more

Latest update on floods in southern Africa 16 Mar 2000

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Funds raised by the DEC and Southern Africa appeals
Disasters Emergency Committee's Mozambique Floods Appeal has so far raised £18 million. Christian Aid's own appeal for southern Africa has raised £771,000.

Christian Aid submission to House of Commons Enquiry into Mozambique

Christian Aid yesterday submitted a memorandum to the International Development Committee of the House of Commons Enquiry into Mozambique. The memorandum states that 'the slow, hesitant and uncoordinated response to the catastrophic flooding that engulfed southern Africa, particularly Mozambique, in February demonstrates (yet again) that current institutions and response mechanisms remain inadequate to address what are likely to be increasing numbers of similar sorts of emergencies in the coming decades'.

Clare Short MP, Secretary of State for International Development, herself stated at the meeting: 'These disasters are chaotic. But clearly more should have been done earlier. What we would like is an international system that would move more rapidly.'

For a copy of the memorandum contact 0171-523 2111.

Debt

Southern African heads of state have made a unanimous appeal on behalf of Mozambique for the total cancellation of Mozambique's external debt to the richer western governments and financial institutions.

Clare Short MP, Secretary of State for International Development, said yesterday (14 March): ADebt relief does not impact in the short term, but is necessary for long-term rehabilitation and recovery. Britain is calling for a moratorium on Mozambique's debt repayment.

The International Monetary Fund has announced that it will not cancel the debt owed to it by Mozambique (around ,5 billion) despite calls from campaign groups worldwide, including Christian Aid. Instead the IMF is considering a proposal to suspend Mozambique's debt repayments for a year.

Mozambique

The Umbeluzi River in Maputo province has now stabilised , but the Limpopo River is still above the critical level in Xai-Xai in Gaza province. In the central part of Mozambique, water levels in the Buzi, Save and Gorongosa rivers are falling.

The Government of Mozambique is advising people not to return to their homes until at least the end of March. This may be because of the fear of further flooding. However, it is thought that it may be because it is easier for local and international organisations to distributed seeds and tools if families and communities remain together in the camps.

An estimated 400 deaths have been reported so far, but there is now grave concern that these figures will rise as a result of cholera, malaria, diarrhoea and dehydration.

Christian Aid's partners respond

Christian Aid has approved a grant of £591,683 from DEC appeal funds for the Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM). This will provide emergency survival kits including basic shelter and household items and some vegetable seeds and tools. CCM is working in seven central and southern districts of Mozambique, assisting almost 25,000 families. CCM has also been collecting money and used clothing, household utensils and school supplies. A team of volunteers -themselves affected by the floods - have been sorting these items in church halls for distribution in their own still-flooded neighbourhoods in Maputo city.

Many people stayed in their houses, wading in waist-high water and sleeping on tables when the water was above bed-level. Although people were frightened and vulnerable they did not want to leave their home for fear that their property would be stolen. CCM's community and church-based action has made it possible to discover and help isolated people quickly and effectively.

Teams of women from congregations of CCM member-churches have been delivering prepared meals to the emergency shelters where many people have arrived not only without food but without cooking utensils, firewood or stoves.

Christian Aid has also approved a grant of £301,209 to support the Rural Association for Mutual Support (ORAM). ORAM is concentrating its relief effort on Gaza province in southern Mozambique, where the money will be used tol provide basic kits for temporary shelters, pots, plates, cups, buckets and water cans. Soap, blankets and some clothes will be included.

ZIMBABWE

Persistent rains have been falling over north and central Zimbabwe for the past two days in sporadic, heavy showers, hampering recovery and continuing to destroy homes. Forecasts say this will continue for at least two more days.

On Monday 13 March the government of Japan announced that it intends to send tents for emergency shelter and plastic sheeting as wells as blankets and other emergency relief items to Zimbabwe. The package is thought to be worth approximately ,£132,000. The relief items will be distributed to those people most severely affected by the floods in southern and eastern Zimbabwe.

Christian Aid's partners respond

Zimbabwe Council of Churches

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) is currently working with local churches in flood-affected areas. It is assessing how many people have been affected and in what way its member churches can best assist families in the medium- to long-term.

ORAP

The Organisation of Rural Association for Progress (ORAP) will supply kits for the control and prevention of malaria and temporary shelter for those who have been make homeless. ORAP will also help communities to repair and reconstruct toilets and sanitation facilities to combat the spread of water-borne diseases. Rebuilding of homes and the sinking of new wells for fresh water will also be a part of the project. It is estimated that this project will cost approximately £130,000.

Donations

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 . Donations can also be made on-line.

Copyright © Christian Aid 1999