Mozambique: Appeal for international help

JOHANNESBURG, 24 February (IRIN) - The Mozambican government and UN agencies have launched a joint international appeal for US $65 million to repair damaged infrastructure and carry out humanitarian operations following two weeks of floods that have left at least 70 people dead and 300,000 in urgent need of assistance.
The government said several main roads, including connections with neighbouring South Africa and Swaziland were severely affected. "The national road that connects the capital, Maputo, with the rest of the country has been cut at several places, and embankments and bridges have been washed away," the government said on Wednesday.

The country's railway and electricity networks, added the appeal, have also been devastated and need urgent repairs. The Ressano Garcia line to South Africa, the Goba line that goes through Swaziland to South Africa, and the Limpopo line to Zimbabwe have all been damaged.

A UN official in Maputo told IRIN on Thursday that although Mozambique "possesses the technical capacity to repair and rehabilitate the damaged infrastructure," the work would depend on the availability of financial resources.

Out of the US $65 million appeal, UN agencies have called for US $13 million for humanitarian operations, including health, sanitation and food security needs.

The government also said 141 schools in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo City have been destroyed. This has affected more than 62,000 pupils and over 1,000 teachers. The appeal added that of the 300,000 people displaced by floods, 60,000 are children under five years of age, many of whom show symptoms of severe and moderate malnutrition.

"Health services in the affected areas are overwhelmed by the number of patients and are working beyond capacity. Drug stocks are running out, and there is a serious shortage of health workers," the appeal said.


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