Mozambique: Flood isolates northern areas as food stocks run low

News and Press Release
Originally published
JOHANNESBURG, 9 January (IRIN) - Three people have been confirmed dead and about 30,000 have been affected by floods in northern Mozambique.
Heavy rains associated with tropical depression Delfina on 4-5 January washed away roads and bridges and destroyed crops and homes in Nampula and Zambezia provinces. Three people were injured and one person was reported missing, a National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) statement said.

Electricity supply was disrupted and the entire Nampula province was expected to be without power for the next three to four days. About 280 mm of rainfall was measured in Nampula.

Also destroyed were 350 schools built with "rudimentary materials", three health centres, 100 "barracks" or informal markets, and a train which was derailed on a bridge over the Meluli river.

The damage to bridges and roads has isolated many areas. "This happens at a time when some of the zones in Nampula province have exhausted their food stocks because of the drought and ... disease in the cassava [a staple food in the region]," the INGC noted.

The INGC said there was no access by road to Moma, Murrupula, Ribaue, Malema, Lalaua and Mecuburi because of flood damage.

However, the INGC believes the impact could have been worse, had local authorities and residents not heeded early warnings about Delfina.

It praised the "immediate actions taken by the provincial government in partnership with the civil society to assist the affected people with food and other necessary items," the INGC statement said.

Work was already underway on re-establishing road access using provincial financial resources (about US $2,100). About US $4,200 had been made available from the disaster contingency fund and the central government had allocated US $42,000 towards emergency efforts in the affected areas.

"Similar humanitarian aid efforts are taking place in Zambezia, where 200 million meticais [about US $8,400] and various relief items were made available under the contingency plan to immediately assist the 1,800 affected people [in that province]," the INGC added.

Provincial governments foresaw "a rapid normalisation of the situation".

"The rivers are again going back to normal levels," INGC spokesman Rogeria Manguele told IRIN. He added that among relief equipment dispatched to the provinces by the government were four small boats and a helicopter, which would be used for conducting aerial assessments of the situation.

Meanwhile, IRIN has learnt that the Mozambican Red Cross - which had been conducting emergency preparedness training workshops in these provinces during 2002 - was mobilising volunteers and establishing a capacity to respond to outbreaks of cholera, should this be necessary.

An increase in diarrhoeal diseases has been reported, but no cholera as yet. The Ministry of Health and the UN World Health Organisation were monitoring the situation in affected areas.


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