Mozambique: Floods Preliminary Emergency Appeal no. MDRMZ002

Originally published


The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 185 countries.

In Brief


A total of CHF 187,000 was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to initiate the national society's relief operation. Please note that Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) is one of the National Societies on the direct cash transfer system.

This operation is aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

The situation

Torrential rains throughout the southern Africa region (from Angola in the west to Mozambique in the east with Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in between) have led to overflowing of rivers and pressure on dams, resulting in wide spread flooding in central and southern parts of Mozambique. The Zambezi, a flood plain river that crosses the continent with three major dams, burst its banks; its tributaries flow into Cahoba Bassa hydroelectric dam in northwestern Mozambique. Mozambique's National Water Directorate began discharging water from the overflowing dam, which covers more than 1,000 square miles at a rate of up to 353,000 cubic feet a minute on 9 February 2007. The discharge rate of the Cahora Bassa dam was reduced from 8,400 to 6,600m3/s on Monday 12 February. The influx of water into the reservoir does however remain high (around 10,000m3/s). Therefore, the above mentioned reduction may only be a temporary relief, since more rain is predicted in the region. The heavy rain in Mozambique and neighbouring countries is continuing and, in combination with this increased discharge rate, significant flooding is expected in the Zambezi River Valley and possibly affecting the Limpopo basin as well.

The disaster

According to the government, as of 13 February 2007, approximately 74,000 people have been displaced and an estimated 29,000 people are currently in accommodation centres and an undetermined number in resettlement centres that were established after the 2001 floods. The most affected provinces are Zambezia, Sofala, Manica and Tete where flooding caused destruction of houses, 111 schools, four health centres, several roads, bridges and 45,000 hectares of crops. The National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC1) estimates that 285,000 people may possibly be affected by the current emergency in the worst-case scenario. The government has ordered the forcible removal of people in low-lying areas amid reports that some peasant farmers were refusing to evacuate, unless their cattle and goats also were rescued. Throughout the affected areas, the incidence of diarrhoea and malaria is expected to increase dramatically; cholera is endemic in the affected region and an outbreak is likely.

Red Cross Red Crescent Action so far

In close collaboration with the government and other organizations, the Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM)2 has initiated a floods relief operation and launched a national solidarity campaign to raise support for the relief operation. CVM started its relief operation in January 2007. This operation was supported by a first DREF allocation of CHF 37,000, released on 19 January, and an additional allocation of CHF 150,000 on 11 February. CVM has mobilized approximately USD 200,000 from local companies. From the initial DREF, CVM has started activities in water treatment, construction of latrines, distribution of oral rehydration solutions (ORS) for sentinel sites and conducting damage and needs assessments.

CVM has mobilized a total of 400 volunteers from its branches to assist the affected populations through the following interventions;

- Mobilizing people in flood-prone areas to relocate to safer areas;

- Providing community-based first aid (CBFA);

- Conducting health, hygiene and sanitation education;

- Assisting with water chlorination;

- Assisting in water rescue exercises;

- Supporting the distribution of relief supplies;

- Registering households/people sheltered in accommodation centres.

The International Federation deployed eight members of the Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT)3 and two Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) members to support the CVM. The FACT and RDRT members have technical expertise in relief, health, water and sanitation (WatSan), information, finance, reporting and coordination. More RDRT members have been mobilized and are on standby and preference is for Portuguese or Spanish speaking members. The FACT, which has been equipped telecommunication equipment including satellite P terminals, Thuraya satellite phones, GPS portable, GSM mobile phones, WiFi access point and broadband router and other accessories, has been deployed from the Federation Secretariat in Geneva to Beira, where one of the operational bases is being set up.

Partner national societies (PNS) present in Mozambique, namely the Belgian, Danish, Finnish, German, Icelandic, Norwegian and Spanish Red Cross Societies are already supporting the operation. The regional representative of the German Red Cross has been providing technical support to the CVM, for contingency planning, and been deployed as the FACT leader.

A logistics Emergency Response Unit (ERU) from the Danish and Swiss Red Cross societies has been mobilized. The ERU will be based in Beira, and is expected to arrive within a few days and will assist with the receipt and processing of all incoming relief goods as well as providing logistics support to other incoming ERUs. A relief ERU from Spain and the Benelux countries is in the process of deployment to support the set up of three operational bases. The ERUs are deployed for up to a period of four months. The Federation regional delegation in Harare has deployed WatSan relief items and equipment from the regional stock (two WatSan kits covering a total of 20,000 people). Two vehicles (Toyota land cruisers hardtop 4 X 4) have been deployed from the Federation regional delegation, and two double-cab pick-ups from the Danish Red Cross for the ERU.


The government, the army and relief workers are using helicopters and canoes to evacuate affected people from low-lying areas. INGC developed and coordinated the implementing of the contingency plans for all provinces. The government is also conducting a preliminary assessment of the situation and supervising the effect of discharges from major dams. Government official are regularly visiting the accommodation centres to assess immediate needs and to monitor emergency response activities.

Other agencies

National and international organizations based in Mozambique have started with relief. Organizations without offices in Mozambique are deploying experts into the country to assist with their operations. The United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator's Office and UN Office for the Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have taken the lead in coordinating UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations for which the cluster approach will be activated.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Mozambique: Fernanda Teixeira, Secretary General, Mozambique Red Cross Society, Maputo; Email:; Phone +258.1.497.721; +258.1.490.943; Mobile +; Fax +258.1.497.725

In Zimbabwe: Françoise Le Goff, Head of Southern Africa Regional Delegation, Harare; Email:; Phone +, +; Fax +

In Geneva: John Roche, Federation Regional Officer for Southern Africa, Africa Dept., Geneva Email:; Phone +41.22.730.44.40, Fax +41.22.733.03.95

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Appeal 2006-2007 for Mozambique.