Mozambique/Buzi: Floods - Information Bulletin n° 1


The situation

From 11 to 15 February 2020, Grudja, Estaquinha, Bandua, Guara-Guara, Vila de Buzi, Muchanesse, Munimucua and other areas in the district of Buzi, Sofala province - Mozambique were severely affected by the rising level of the water basin, which led to floods. These floods in the region caused the isolation of communities in floodplains; community members took refuge in treetops, houses and ravines waiting for rescue. In the village of Buzi, between the night of the 14 and the morning of the 15 February, the water level rose forcing the displacement of more than 7,400 people from Buzi alone.

A total of 30 accommodation centres (schools, churches and other buildings) have been set up to support those displaced.

The priority needs in the 12 existing temporary transitory accommodation centres in Buzi that have been assessed to date are: protection structures for families exposed to sun and rain in open areas, supply of drinking water and basic sanitation, construction of sufficient latrines for the number of people in the camps, food and kitchen/ shelter kits for families, and mosquito nets for malaria prevention due to the increased number of mosquitoes after the floods.

The actual situation poses severe health risks for the population in the accommodation centres. The density of the population is significant with a precarious water and hygiene situation. The majority of the centres have insufficient latrines, and people are practising open defecation. Boreholes are polluted due to the floods and the lack of capacity to treat the water properly. In Buzi village there are many locations with stagnant and polluted water. These factors lead to an increased risk of acute watery diarrhoea and the risk of cholera. The affected population is not sleeping in mosquito nets or sleeping in damaged ones since many lost their nets during the flood or were not able to take them along during the evacuations. The persons who do possess mosquito nets in good conditions lack space to put these. As a result of these factors and the stagnant water, there is an increased risk of malaria.

The need for special attention to psychosocial issues was noted for the population that suffered from the trauma of the disaster and presented difficulties in sleeping and/or sudden fears and anxiety when recalling the episodes experienced. Attention was also drawn to the high number of children present in transit camps, many of them of school age who are momentarily unable to maintain their study routines.

There is a particular need as well to provide support for children under five who are vulnerable to diseases. Finally, the prevalence of disabled people, elderly people and pregnant and/or breastfeeding women who require special attention have been observed in transitory accommodation centres.

There is a need to include protective measures in all activities, as Mozambique is a country with significant rates of sexual violence and child abuse. The accommodation centres do not have any lights so the toilets could be a dangerous place for women and children at night. There are no spaces for children or pregnant women.

Regarding the needs for shelter, the main priority is the Ring accommodation centres which have no physical structures to accommodate people. Until 21 February, the only access to Buzi village was through the Buzi river. While access is improving, it remains complicated and many communities can be reached only by boat.