Mozambique: Volunteers to the rescue

Two Mozambique Red Cross volunteers are missing, presumed dead, after the boat they were using to rescue flood victims capsized at Guija in Gaza province last week. Vasco Mufaniquisso and Ezekiel Vasconcelos were among 10 people on the boat when the accident happened. Six others are also believed to have drowned. Two other people, both Red Cross volunteers, managed to swim to safety. The International Federation has sent its condolences to the volunteers' families and to the Mozambique Red Cross. "This is very sad news for us because these braves volunteers have devoted their lives for humanitarian work in Mozambique," said Richard Hunlédé, federation officer for eastern and southern Africa.

The situation in Gaza, one of the areas worst affected by the floods which hit the country on 4 February, has worsened with the capital, Xia Xia now cut off from both the north and the south. A bridge connecting the main road from Maputo to Xia Xia has collapsed at Chicumba. This is further hampering the rescue and relief of flood victims in the province. The Red Cross is now concentrating on assisting victims in the districts of Chokwe and Macia. With two vehicles already there, the first relief supplies are due to arrive this week, including mobile water purification plants and staff to install them.

In Chokwe, 15 Red Cross volunteers are helping more than 2,200 families in five centres, most of the volunteers are flood victims themselves.

Flooding in some regions has now subsided but the Limpopo valley is still badly affected and relief work in all areas is continuing to be severely hampered by the damage to roads and bridges. Although Red Cross relief operations have been set up in affected areas, there is a great need for more food, shelter and water sanitation.

=A91997 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies