Mozambique Floods: Concern expands emergency relief operation

Report
from Concern Worldwide
Published on 01 Mar 2000
New York - March 1, 2000 - The following is a telecon update from Jo Thomas, Concern's Country Director in Mozambique.
The latest figures show that there is an increase in the number of people affected by the floods. The number has now risen to an estimated 1.9 million, of which nine hundred thousand are in immediate need of support - the basic needs are shelter, water, food and medical assistance. The situation in the center of the country is quite desperate.

The latest figures show that there are 50,000 people displaced and up to 200,000 in immediate need in this one small area of the country. Concern is sending in extra personnel to expand the existing relief operation in the area. In addition, Concern is bringing in a plane to the central region - which is the worst affected area. The immediate priority is to get access to people who are in danger of losing their lives.

"Thousands are sitting on trees and rooftops waiting to be rescued by helicopter. It is a major logistical problem getting to these people. We need to get them to higher ground, provide shelter and clean water and we're bringing in additional emergency food supplies and providing medical assistance where needed."

There are about six helicopters from the South African airforce at the moment rescuing as many people as they can. They're working all the daylight hours. On Monday, they rescued 2,700 people, but there are still an estimated 10 to 20,000 people in one area alone who still need immediate rescue.

The last figure we have for the number of casualties was about 118 people reported dead. However the numbers killed in the floods will be small compared to the number who could potentially be at risk from disease following the recession of the waters.

Malaria and Cholera outbreaks are now being reported. Already there has been a confirmed outbreak of cholera in Maputo City. Fears are also growing over reports that another cyclone is set to hit Mozambique in a few days. This cyclone is expected to come from Northern Madagascar and could hit Northern Mozambique and Southern Tanzania - which were not affected by the recent flooding.

Concern Worldwide has worked with the people of Mozambique since 1984 and has a team of experienced international and local personnel working to do everything possible to help provide the most appropriate and timely response.

Further information or to speak with Country Director in Mozambique, please contact: info@concern-ny.org
Tel 212-557-8000