MSF: Mozambique, hit by the worst floods in 30 years

The Mozambican government estimates that up to now about 800,000 people have been affected by the floods. About 300,000 of them are in urgent need of food aid and assistance. Mozambican officials said, during the the weekend, that up to 100,000 hectares of crops have been lost because of the floods.
Approximately 30,000 livestock animals have died in the floods. Many of the affected people depended on the livestock for their livelihood, and the loss will pose a long-term setback. The entire lifeline of the domestic economy has been destroyed, which will force Mozambique to borrow more to rebuild destroyed infrastructure while at the same time more food aid will be needed to feed the displaced people.

In their latest update on the situation the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that Limpopo Valley in Gaza Province was currently the focus of relief efforts. OCHA said that local authorities in Gaza Province were in urgent need of support to assist displaced families and that "the sanitation situation in particular requires substantial attention in view of the much-feared cholera and malaria outbreaks."

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) in Maputo announced on Monday that, as of last Thursday, half of the 1,000 metric tones of food aid that had been planned has already been delivered. WFP said that it has stockpiled food, medicine and tents at Palmeira, about 90 km north of Maputo, in anticipation of more rain.

According to Radio Mozambique, the cyclone Eline caused severe damage in the port city of Beira, ripping the rooves off many flimsy homes. It uprooted trees and disrupted electricity supplies in Beira and the nearby district of Buzi. Two thirds of Beira is without electricity and drinking water. The poorer suburbs of Beira have been inundated by the torrential rains. There are reports of one cyclone-related death in the city.

Some 700 km further south, there is no relief for the residents of Xai-Xai, capital of Gaza province. According to the latest data released from the Southern Regional Water Board, the Limpopo river is continuing to rise at Xai-Xai, and by Tuesday morning was 5.88 metres high. Flood alert level at Xai-Xai is 4.3 metres.

MSF is exploring, by boat, the Limpopo river and concentrates its aid in the region of Chokwé.

The other rivers in southern Mozambique are gradually subsiding, although the Incomati river remains flooded, cutting off the main Maputo-Beira road some 90 km north of the capital.

Two of the three major dams in southern Mozambique are full beyond their maximum theoretical capacity.

The Mozambique government has launched a new official appeal for US$13-million for emergency humanitarian assistance. The Government said that it estimated it would need about US$65-million to fully rehabilitate flood-stricken areas.

The region also faces the risk that a new cyclone, named Felicia, may hit the region in a couple of days.