Mozambique

Situation desperate for Mozambique

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From WEEKLY NEWS 09/00
More than 100,000 people are still waiting to be rescued from the floods that have swept across the country. There are only eight helicopters from South Africa and Malawi working to pluck to safety people clinging onto trees and rooftops. It's a slow process and without more helicopters, the loss of life in Mozambique could be catastrophic. Responding to the changing situation, the International Federation has increased its appeal for funds to 11.4 million Swiss francs to reflect the growing needs not just in Mozambique but also its neighbours, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Swaziland. They too have been badly affected by floods and continuous rainfall.

But the situation in Mozambique may deteriorate. Another cyclone is approaching the country and water from the overflowing Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe and Zambia will reach northern Sofala and southern Zambezia provinces shortly. With roads and bridges washed away, Red Cross efforts to rescue people and transport relief goods are being severely hampered. More than 500 volunteers of the Mozambique Red Cross Society (MRCS), with support from the Federation and donor National Societies, are working to provide first aid, food, shelter and clean water and sanitation in camps for the displaced. The battle there is primarily against epidemics of cholera, malaria and other diseases. There are three times as many cases of water borne diseases than normal for this time of the year. At Chacalane camp between Chokwe and Macia in Gaza province, the worst affected region, the Red Cross, working with the Mozambique ministry of health, is providing 26,000 homeless people with clean water and sanitation facilities. But with rising water levels, the camp may have to be moved.

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