Mozambique situation update 31 Jan 2003

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 31 Jan 2003
Cholera Outbreak in Central and Northern Mozambique: 1,289 Cases Registered so far
Since September 2002, a number of outbreaks of cholera have been reported in Nampula, Niassa, Cabo Delgado and most recently Sofala Province. As of 28 January 2003, 1,289 cases had been reported with 32 deaths. Sofala and Cabo Delgado are currently the worst affected provinces.

UNICEF is working with the Municipal authorities in Beira, Quelimane and Nampula to implement public communication programmes, thereby enhancing community capacity to prevent, identify and treat cholera. In addition, chlorine supplies are being provided to the Provincial Public Works Departments in Sofala, Zambezia and Nampula for disinfecting of water supplies in the outbreak areas. WHO is providing financial support for the Cholera Treatment Centres.

Assessments

Floods in Northern Mozambique

UNICEF staff members worked alongside the Provincial Government in Nampula (14th-17th January) and Zambezia (22nd-24th January) to assess the impact of Tropical Depression "Delfina" (which struck in early January). Provincial authorities in Nampula estimate that the number of people affected is 105,000, with an estimated 22,000 people displaced. 350 schools and 3 health centres are also reported to be badly damaged.

In Zambezia, Government officials reported that 28,084 people are affected in two districts. Twenty six school classrooms and 1 health post have also been damaged.

Co-ordination systems, outlined in the Government's Contingency Plan for 2003, have been activated and appear to be working well. Financial assistance from the central level has been provided to the Provincial Governors to respond to the most urgent needs, and specific requests have been sent to UN agencies and NGOs for sectoral support.

Deaths from Hunger in Tete Province

Following reports of hunger-related deaths in Chitete, Magoé district (Tete Province), UNICEF staff, with Provincial and District Health authorities, went to assess the situation. According to their findings, ten people had died recently: eight between 14th-21st January, and two in November/December. Those who died were reported to be extremely weakened due to lack of food and therefore succumbed easily to illnesses. Most were elderly people, although two were adolescents. On 29th January, three more deaths were reported in Chitete. These have not been confirmed.

The assessment team found a bleak situation in the area around Chinthopo. Food stocks ran out three months ago and people have been living on wild fruits. They have no access to safe water and thus have to rely on water from the Mussenguezi River. The communities also informed the team that families who had recently returned from Zimbabwe, are now moving back again because of the lack of food.

Implementation of the Minimum Results Package

A. Immediate Actions with Immediate Effect

A.1. Nutrition and Health

A partnership agreement with World Vision has now been signed for the implementation of a supplementary feeding programme in three districts in Tete Province. The programme will include participatory education on good hygiene and care practices, as well as Vitamin A supplementation and de-worming for all children included in the programme.

An agreement with LWF to work in Magoé district (Tete Province) is now under development and is being given priority attention. WFP is providing the CSB for these supplementary feeding programmes.

B. Immediate Actions with Mid to Long Term Effect

B.1. Health

The launch of a social marketing campaign in Gaza will be held on 4th February in Xai-Xai (Gaza). The campaign is being implemented by Population Services International (PSI) in co-ordination with the Provincial Health Department, with financial and technical support from UNICEF. The programme will make various types of nets available (targeted at urban and rural populations), with discounted nets for vulnerable groups (children under five and pregnant women) being sold through health posts.

B.2. Education

The distribution of 177,000 pupil kits; 6,200 teaching kits; 590 classroom kits and 1,800 school desks to the affected districts has now been completed.

B.3. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion

In response to the requests for assistance to respond to the flooding in Nampula and Zambezia provinces, UNICEF is providing logistical support to move 7,500 blankets, 2,500 plastic shelter sheets, 10,000 buckets and jerrycans, 1,000 Kg of chlorine, 400,000 water purification sachets, and 14,000 cholera prevention and treatment posters to the affected areas. These items made up part of the contingency stock supplied to the Government during the contingency planning exercise for 2003.

For further information contact: Marie-Pierre Poirier, Representative, UNICEF - Mozambique, Tel: +258 1 490045 Louise Maule, Emergency Co-ordinator, UNICEF - Mozambique, Tel: +258 82 317916