Mozambique: Flood report 07 Mar 2000

JOHANNESBURG, 7 March (IRIN) - As the flood waters begin to recede in Mozambique, bodies of people and animals are being discovered in large numbers, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported. In its latest update, it said the bodies presented an "urgent health hazard" to people returning home.
The general situation

The government disaster management authority, the Instituto Nacional de Gestao das Calamidades (INGC), reported on Tuesday that the levels of the Limpopo, Buzi and Save rivers in the south of the country were "slowly dropping". It said that over 10,000 people have so far been rescued and evacuated to various accommodation centres.

OCHA said that the most affected areas along the Save and Buzi rivers were: Machanga, Buzi, Xibabava, Nova Mambone in the southern Sofala Province and Massangena in Inhambane Province.

According to OCHA, 100 mt of aid is being transported daily by boat and air, and where possible, by railway in operations coordinated from the capital, Maputo, and second city, Beira, about 700 km north of Maputo. It said that so far, 43 helicopters and 120 inflatable boats were being used in rescue and relief operations.

The INGC said that the Beira-Xai-Xai road had been repaired and that by Thursday the road between Beira and Macia in the south should be reopened allowing access to the Chokwe road.


The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) said in their report that in coordination with the military, it was overseeing the distribution and delivery of food aid to about 250,000 people in 65 reception centres. It said that it was airlifting 200 mt of high energy biscuits to Mozambique from its headquarters in Rome. A C-130 Hercules transport plane was also shuttling 100 mt of biscuits from Uganda to Maputo, Beira and the southern coastal city of Vilanculos.

WFP has also stockpiled an estimated 8,000 mt of food supplies in Maputo, Beira, and Tete and Nampula in the north of the country. Food from Maputo was being distributed in the south, while aid from Beira was being distributed to flood victims in the central and northern areas.

The government has also begun to repair the main road between Sofala and Inhambane and Xai-Xai, the capital of Gaza Province, and Palmeiras, south of Xai-Xai. Once this road has been repaired, food will be transported from Maputo to Macia, about 250 km north of Maputo.

There are over 400,000 food aid beneficiaries in the Limpopo, Save and Buzi river basins, the INGC said.


OCHA said that medical needs across the country included essential drugs and medical supplies, including vaccines and vitamin A. Preventative measures were also needed against malaria (such as spraying) and cholera. Additional body bags were also required.

UNICEF said that it would begin vaccinating children under the age of five against measles and meningitis and women of childbearing age against tetanus. An immunization campaign against waterborne diseases is also due to begin this week.

Medecins du Monde (MDM) said on Tuesday that it was setting up mobile clinics in vehicles and boats to gain greater access to larger numbers of people. In Inhambane Province the areas of Jofane, Zinave, Nova Mabone and Machange have been identified as priority areas for health interventions to prevent the outbreak of epidemics.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said that in the city of Chokwe, in Gaza Province, MSF staff had over the weekend conducted 1,000 consultations daily. In Chibuto there have been cases of severe diarrhoea and tuberculosis (TB), MSF said.

UNICEF is currently constructing pit latrines among displaced populations.

A portable water treatment plant has been taken to Xai-Xai, which will be moved to Chokwe later this week. Chlorine capsules have also been distributed to allow people to disinfect water for drinking. Jerry cans and soap have also been distributed among people in accommodation centres.


The INGC said that 248 centres, capable of housing 430,000 people, had been established in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, and Sofala.

The Chiaquelane camp in Gaza Province houses about 45,000 people and is about halfway between Chokwe and Macia. Oxfam said that it was providing 90,000 litres of water per day to Chiaquelane

At the Wenela camp also in Gaza Province, the INGC said, food supplies were running low and there were no health facilities in the camp. Water supplies were "severely limited" and there were only two latrines. Fuel is "urgently needed" for the borehole pump's generator.

At the Palmeiras camp in Manhica, there were 2,785 people. The water supply according to the INGC was "reasonable". At Machiane 1,000 people had been given food and non-food items.

The INGC said food supplies, basic medicines, fuel, latrine construction materials, tents, plastic sheeting, salt, cocking utensils, plates and cups were needed in all the camps.

Donor response

In a statement on Tuesday, the government said that so far US $20 million had been received from the international community. This included humanitarian assistance in the form of food, tents, blankets, domestic utensils, agricultural material, medicines, water purification equipment and fuel.

The Japanese government said that it was sending an emergency medical team to Mozambique to help prevent the spread of diseases among flood victims.

The first contingent of US troops arrived in Maputo on Tuesday.


The South African Weather Bureau said on Tuesday that heavy rain falls were expected overnight in Beira. The national meteorological office in Maputo earlier on Tuesday said rain had already begun falling in the southern province of Inhambane and that the rain was expected for at least 48 hours.


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