Mozambique

Mozambique to appeal for aid in wake of Cyclone Eline

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Written by Cynthia Long, Managing Editor, DisasterRelief.org
After Cyclone Eline ripped roofs from houses and cut off power and water supplies in flood-stricken Mozambique, relief workers are scrambling to deliver food and other supplies to areas deluged by the storm and weeks of unrelenting rains. A humanitarian appeal for $13 million in international aid is expected to be launched on Wednesday, relief workers say.

In Mozambique, at least two deaths were reported from the cyclone and another 67 people have died in the flooding, according to reports. More than 200,000 have been forced from their homes by two weeks of torrential rains. Officials say refugees are now at risk for outbreaks of water-borne disease, such as cholera, malaria and meningitis.

President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique has made an urgent appeal for more international aid to help cope with the aftermath of severe flooding and the tropical cyclone. "For reconstruction we will need seeds and agricultural implements because, as soon as the water goes away, we will need to plough and plant again, along with blankets, tents and more food for the displaced," he told reporters.

"And we had a cyclone which hit the southern and central parts of the country. The damages are big. I do not have figures yet ... but the needs are for the urgent alleviation of the situation," the president said.

Cyclone Eline hit the coast on Tuesday near the central town of Beira with winds of up to 260 kmh (160 mph). The storm left widespread damage along the coastline, from Inhambane to Beira, as it cut power and water supplies, tore corrugated-iron roofs from houses, and uprooted coconut palm trees and telegraph poles.

The cyclone follows two weeks of flooding, and vast tracts of land in southern Mozambique are submerged. Thousands of people there are reportedly seeking shelter on high ground. Logistical problems are hampering their rescue as roads and bridges have been washed away. Red Cross officials in Mozambique have also been using helicopters with UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders to assess the situation.

The Mozambican Government estimates that a total of 800,000 people have been affected across the country, with most of them in urgent need of food aid and assistance, according to the U.N. Families living in the Limpopo Valley had no food and little clean water, and outbreaks of dysentery were rampant. Many people are at risk from water-borne disease, malaria and malnourishment.

"The overcrowded conditions under which the displaced people now live pose a danger of an outbreak of epidemics that could affect at least 800,000 Mozambicans," Carlos Tiny of the World Health Organization said, in comments circulated by the U.N.

Meanwhile, flooded rivers have not yet begun to recede in many areas, preventing people from returning to their communities. Robert Frazer, a Red Cross Regional Water and Sanitation Delegate who took part in an assessment trip over the Limpopo River, said, "Only 20-30 kms from the mouth of the river, we were confronted by a sea of water and as we continued up the river, the flooding was even more extensive with many medium sized towns completely submerged and many more threatened."

Flying over the Incomati River further south last week, Frazer saw many people stranded on rooftops, and on the remains of roads and bridges. Some of them, he said, had been there for two to three days. Red Cross volunteers are delivering first aid kits and chlorine to sanitize the water supplies. Frazer says the Red Cross is trying to "target large numbers of people who, though stranded, are not under immediate threat and who won't need to be evacuated."

For the nearly 100,000 people made homeless in Maputo, Red Cross officials have been distributing relief in food, blankets and shelter. Through the British government's Department For International Development (DIFD), the British Red Cross Society has already distributed 400 tents and 150 rolls of plastic sheeting. Water sanitation equipment also has arrived from Zimbabwe and generators from South Africa.

Red Cross workers are also training volunteers in basic chlorination to avoid dysentery, malaria and cholera outbreaks. The Mozambique Red Cross Society (MRCS) has set up 20 first aid posts in Maputo with the help of the Mozambique Ministry of Health to provide basic health needs. But it is only when the floodwaters begin to recede and access to the areas is possible that large-scale relief will begin, officials said.

The past weeks' deluge extends throughout southern Africa, affecting parts of South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana. Cyclone Eline could add to the damage in those countries too, according to experts. Meteorologists are also forecasting that a second storm, Cyclone Felecia, will hit the region later in the week.

DisasterRelief.org is a unique partnership between the American Red Cross, IBM and CNN dedicated to providing information about disasters and their relief operations worldwide. The three-year-old website is a leading disaster news source and also serves as a conduit for those wishing to donate to disaster relief operations around the globe through the international Red Cross movement.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.

The American Red Cross is dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. The Red Cross is a volunteer-led humanitarian organization that annually provides almost half the nation's blood supply, trains nearly 12 million people in vital life-saving skills, mobilizes relief to victims in more than 60,000 disasters nationwide, provides direct health services to 2.5 million people, assists international disaster and conflict victims in more than 20 countries, and transmits more than 1.4 million emergency messages to members of the Armed Forces and their families. If you would like information on Red Cross services and programs please contact your local Red Cross.


=A9 Copyright 2000, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.
DisasterRelief
DisasterRelief.org is a unique partnership between the American Red Cross, IBM and CNN dedicated to providing information about disasters and their relief operations worldwide. The three-year-old website is a leading disaster news source and also serves as a conduit for those wishing to donate to disaster relief operations around the globe through the international Red Cross movement. American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. The American Red Cross is dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. The Red Cross is a volunteer-led humanitarian organization that annually provides almost half the nation's blood supply, trains nearly 12 million people in vital life-saving skills, mobilizes relief to victims in more than 60,000 disasters nationwide, provides direct health services to 2.5 million people, assists international disaster and conflict victims in more than 20 countries, and transmits more than 1.4 million emergency messages to members of the Armed Forces and their families. If you would like information on Red Cross services and programs please contact your local Red Cross. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.