The departure of all helicopters is planned for the end of March. Almost half of them have been already withdrawn, including the US military units formerly based in Beira, a major city located in the Sofala province.
However, most of the Sofala population is only accessible by air, as the roads and rivers are still obstructed. The helicopters are the only means to deliver food and other vital products. This planned withdrawal will seriously hamper the efforts of humanitarian organizations to rescue tens of thousands of people.
In Sofala Province, Action Against Hunger has identified some 20,000 people, stranded in the Goonda area in the extreme North of the Chibabava District. This population has been isolated for one month, and left without any food assistance. Action Against Hunger has not succeeded in mobilizing helicopters and was able to deliver the first food aid only yesterday, since the flood devastation, to 2,500 people in Goonda Madjaka. This area was one of the worse affected zones due to the floods of the Buzi River.
Action Against Hunger has already secured enough food, in cooperation with the World Food Program, to provide for the needs of 36,000 people in the Chibabava District. But with the absence of helicopters, 15,000 people will be inaccessible and left on their own in the villages of Magunde, Tronca, Massane, Dodonga and Jambe.
Action Against Hunger strongly appeals to the International Community to continue for the helicopter relief support beyond the end of March.
The survival of thousands of people is at stake.
Contacts: Anna Kar (212) 967 7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org