Southern Africa flood disaster update: 10 Mar 2000

Situation Report
Originally published
Four weeks after devastating floods began in Mozambique, rescue operations are still in full swing. Now one of the poorest countries in the world is preparing its massive reconstruction.
1992 saw the end of a debilitating civil war in Mozambique and the start of the country's improved economic growth. However, following the floods, Mozambique will need to depend heavily on foreign aid for some time. Various issues have arisen in the month since the flooding began, including coordination of international agencies' activities, as well as international pressure to alleviate the burden of massive debt on Mozambique to give it some chance of recovering from this disaster.

Fresh rains affect rescue effort

Fresh rains have knocked down telecommunication links in central and southern Mozambique, according to Government officials. Representatives from international aid agencies have also expressed their concern that the rivers that had started receding would rise again. Displaced people have already begun returning to their homes, and aid agencies are now appealing to them to remain in refugee camps rather than risk becoming stranded once again.

"The weather forecast is that rains will continue through to March 12 in Sofala, Inhambane and Maputo provinces and this is bad news for the country," Government spokesman Antonio Macheve told a news conference.

"So far we have 1.9 million people affected by the disaster.This includes those indirectly their crops and animals destroyed," Macheve added.

In the town of Palmeira, outside Maputo, some foreign military helicopters had to make emergency landings due to the rains and heavy cloud cover.

The bad weather had grounded more than thirty planes at Maputo airport seriously hindering the delivery of food and supplies to the stranded. The rains and clouds had hindered flights beyond a twenty kilometre radius outside of Maputo.