Mozambique floods update

Kate Horne, Oxfam GB's Country Representative in Mozambique, reports on the worsening situation in Mozambique
SUNDAY 27 FEBRUARY - The situation has deteriorated rapidly today. Flood waters from the Limpopo and Save rivers in Zimbabwe and northern South Africa have poured back into Mozambique and made the situation here critical.

The situation is even worse further north in the Save river valley, where an estimated 20,000 people are in a desperate situation - stranded on roof tops, in trees, or on small patches of land, some of them since last Monday and with no food or shelter. Bad weather from Cyclone Eline prevented the helicopters flying over that area until Friday, and the waters have swelled since then. There are many groups of up to 500 people gathered together on small pieces of land, surrounded by flood water. Entire families have been swept away by fast running water.

It is reckoned that another two metres of water will come down the Limpopo today, and more water from Beitbridge during the week, coming at 11,000 cubic metres a second. It is clear that there are not enough helicopters or boats here to save every one in time. There are five helicopters from the South African air force which rescued about 400 people today.

Yesterday, 150 people were saved from the Save river valley area, and 400 were picked up from Chokwe today by helicopter. It is estimated that about 10,000 people in Chibutu and 25,000 people in Chokwe need to be evacuated.

This is a critical situation here - there is urgent need for more transport capacity, both if we are to save lives in the next few days, and then to ensure survivors remain alive in the coming weeks and months.