More misery for Mozambique

Inadequate air transport facilities to rescue more than 100,000 people stranded in the worst flood affected provinces of Mozambique could lead to the loss of great numbers of lives. With roads and bridges washed away and strong water currents making rescuing people difficult for small boats, helicopters are often the only way to help those clinging onto trees and rooftops. Up until the weekend, only five South African army helicopters were involved in rescue efforts in Gaza province. Malawi has now sent one helicopter to help stranded people in Sofala province. But it's a slow process and without more help quickly, the loss of life in Mozambique could be catastrophic.
The situation is deteriorating rapidly as flood levels continue to rise and in response, the International Federation has revised its appeal launched on February 11 to more than 10 million Swiss francs to take into account the need for more air transport. The revised Federation appeal will include aid for Zimbabwe, Botswana and Swaziland, also badly affected by floods.

Logistics and difficult working conditions partly due to the continued rainfall are severely hampering Red Cross efforts to rescue people and transport relief to where it's needed the most in Mozambique. More than 500 volunteers for the Mozambique Red Cross Society with help from the International Federation, is continuing to provide first aid, food, shelter and clean water in camps for the displaced. The battle there is against an epidemic of cholera, malaria and other diseases. The situation in the Limpopo valley is particularly bad. The entire province of Gaza is now flooded. The situation in the provinces of Inhambane and Sofala is also becoming serious as the levels of the Save river rise.

With heavy rains also falling in Zimbabwe and Zambia, rising levels in rivers and lakes there means it's only a question of time before northern Sofala and southern parts of the province of Zambezia are flooded.

=A91997 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies