Cyclone Japhet continues to batter southern
Africa, but in Mozambique, victim of devastating floods in 2000 and 2001,
casualties and damage have so far been kept to a minimum, largely as a
result of effective disaster preparedness measures and good cooperation
between the government and the Mozambique Red Cross (CVM). As soon as a
warning was issued on 27 February, the CVM went into emergency mode, convening
a task force and placing hundreds of provincial staff and volunteers on
alert. Scores of people have been injured, electricity and telecommunications
have been disrupted and roads blocked, but CVM Secretary General Fernanda
Teixeira believes it could have been much worse without the timely warnings
and frequent updates. "More importantly, the people followed the instructions
they received, staying at home and keeping children out of schools,"
she says. Holger Leipe, the Federation's regional disaster management coordinator
agrees: "The experience gained during previous floods has clearly
paid off and is now an asset for the whole region."