New beginnings for Mozambique

News and Press Release
Originally published
by Argentina Matavel
When heavy rains continued for a third day on Friday March 9th, Noah's Ark came to most minds. Saturday's sunshine kindled a small spark of hope. But no one could escape the obvious - this country had vastly too much water. It could absorb no more.

A sense of deja-vu is now being experienced in Mozambique, with words such as "resettlement" and "reconstruction" in common use - words that Mozambicans did not wish to have to use again after so many years of war and post-war recovery.

But now the immediate rescue effort is over, Mozambique is once again facing enormous reconstruction. Relief operations are in full gear in the district of Xai-Xai, Gaza province, while in Sofala a World Vision office that will support operations in the Machanga district is being re-built.

Gaza World Food Program staff delivered food last Friday to feed 8,000 people for one week. To date, 600 survival kits have been distributed. Similar distributions are planned for the days and weeks to come. Recovery kits, containing mostly tools such as hammers, hoes, machetes and spades, are being held until people start returning to rebuild their homes.

In the past week, people everywhere in the flood regions were seen testing the waters in hope of getting back to their homes and villages to assess the damage. Most of them feared they had lost everything.

The registration of displaced people is nearly finalised, with a target of about 27,545 people in the district of Xai-Xai to be helped in the reconstruction phase. Currently, 45,000 people will be targeted for help in Machanga district.

Agriculture, health and infrastructure technical staff attend daily government and UN co-ordination meetings. They also conduct field needs assessment and put out procurement orders. Seeds testing will take place soon and it is hoped that seed packs will be distributed in late March for immediate planting. This will take advantage of the small planting season in March, leading to a June harvest.

Health assessments have been conducted and malaria, diarrhoea and cholera medicines are on order, including water purification tablets.


Before February 2000

World Vision has been working in Mozambique for many years both during and after the civil war.

4-7 February, 2000

Heavy rains first deluged Mozambique and the surrounding countries of Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland. Mozambique, downriver from the other countries, has been worst hit.

18 February, 2000

The Limpopo River in Gaza Province peaked, flooding the capital of Xai-Xai and the surrounding region. More than 800,000 people were affected, with 200,000 left homeless as mud walled homes collapsed. 48 people perished in this initial flooding.

21 February, 2000

Cyclone Eline battered the coast with 120kph winds and torrential rain. Houses were submerged and roads, bridges, factories, schools and health-care facilities destroyed.

World Vision Australia sent an initial US$30,000 for emergency kits to help the most affected families.

28 February, 2000

World Vision Australia launched the Mozambique Flood Appeal to raise further funds to help the people of Mozambique who have been affected by the flood.

3 March 2000

World Vision Mozambique was aiding in the ongoing rescue of people stranded in trees and on the tops of buildings. It was also transporting fuel for rescue motor boats on the flood sites.

World Vision continued to distribute Survival kits and Recovery kits (each family received one kit). Survival kits include blankets, plastic sheeting, cooking pots, plastic buckets, a knife, plates and soap. Recovery kits are made up of two hoes, a spade, a hammer, and a machete. On top of that, World Vision Mozambique ordered Agricultural packs which include seeds to plant maize, peanuts, beans, pumpkin, onions, cane, and tomatoes.

=A9 1999 World Vision Australia