Mozambique floods: Update 06 Mar 2000

As Mozambique's worst floods in living memory recede and survivors leave the trees and rooftops where they took shelter, WFP's humanitarian operation faces a new challenge: feeding hundreds of thousands of people left homeless.

Helicopters: 41
Total fixed wing aircraft : 15
Boats: 78 operating in Limpopo basin
Mobile Telecommunication Centers: 4


With search and rescue missions nearly complete, WFP, in coordination with the military, is now overseeing the distribution and delivery of food and other aid to 250,000 people in 65 reception centers.

Road transport along the country's main north-south highway and other secondary roads has been cut off at several points with bridges down and railways damaged. Until water levels fully recede and infrastructure can be repaired, WFP will have to depend on helicopters and boats to get food to the reception sites.

WFP is currently setting-up logistics bases in Maputo and Sofala. Squadrons of WFP-coordinated helicopters are flying food out of these centers to the flooded Limpopo valley in the south and, further north, the Save river valley.

Until now, lack of communications systems has been a severe handicap in Mozambique. But WFP's technical experts arrived over the weekend to coordinate the setting-up of a telecom and IT network that will guarantee telephone and email systems for all UN staff working in the emergency.

Updates from the Field

(March 6, 2000)

Approximately 65 reception centers have been established where food, fresh water and medicines are being distributed to the rescued. WFP estimates that there are approximately 3,000-36,000 people staying at each site.

Thousands of hectares of agricultural land have been lost in the five provinces of Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputa and Sofala. Most of these affected provinces were already identified as food insecure.

Mozambique's government is repairing main road between Sofala and Inhambane and Xai Xai and Palmeiras so that WFP and other humanitarian agencies can more easily move food and other urgently needed aid.

Hi-Energy Biscuits

WFP headquarters in Rome is organizing the airlift of 200 metric tons of high energy biscuits to Mozambique. A C130 Hercules transport plane is shuttling 100 tons of biscuits from Uganda to Maputo, Beira and Vilanculos.

Fourteen tons have already been airlifted out to Maputo from the WFP's food depot in Pisa, Italy with a further 40 tons set to follow. The biscuits are short-term measures to provide immediate assistance to the rescued.


Trevor Rowe:
Office +39 06 6513 2602
Mobile +39 348 6099463

Francis Mwanza
Office +39 06 65132623

Jeffrey Rowland
Office +39 06 6513 2971

Mozambique Maputo:
Brenda Barton
Mobile +258 82 316642 Lindsey Davies
Mobile +258 82 316 642

Mozambique Beira:
Abigail Spring
Mobile +917 302 9325

Christiane Berthiaume
Office +41 79 285 7304