Mozambique

Stranded flood victims in Mozambique head home

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By Staci Dennis

MOZAMBIQUE, Africa - As the floodwaters continue to recede in central Mozambique, the once-stranded people are now returning home to rebuild their lives.

Operation Blessing and German partner, Humedica, are aiding that transition by providing food, water and "family start-up kits."

This week, OBI completed air drops of food, water and other relief items supplied by the International Red Cross and the World Food Program.

Utilizing two helicopters - a Eurocopter from Mercy Air and a Bell Jet Ranger with Marine Reach - OBI dropped more than 50,000 pounds of food, including rice, sugar, lentils and cooking oil to thousands of residents left stranded by the floods.

In the next few weeks, "family start-up kits" will be distributed to 3,500 families who lost their homes and possessions. The kits contain essential items such as mosquito nets, cooking utensils and gardening tools.

"People are leaving the camps, only to return home and find there is nothing left," said David Darg, OBI's assistant director of international programs. "They have to return to the camps in order to get some help."

Although water levels from the recent floods have dropped, new problems are also arising, says Darg.

Unsanitary conditions are contributing to rising cases of cholera and dysentery, while stagnant water is becoming a major breeding ground for mosquitoes and malaria.

"Our response to the crisis is not finished..." Darg said.

Mozambique, located in the southern tip of Africa, has a notorious past for severe flooding during the rainy season, which typically lasts through March.

This year alone, flooding has displaced more than 170,000 people and killed 45, officials said. The government states more than $70 million will be needed in recovery efforts from the floods and cyclones.

At their height, the floodwaters were at the same levels as in March 2001 - when the region experienced one of the worst floods in its history. The 2001 flood claimed more than 700 lives and displaced a half a million people.

Floodwaters are currently at the same levels as in March 2001 - when the region experienced one of the worst floods in its history. The 2001 flood claimed more than 700 lives and displaced a half a million people.

AP contributed to this report.

How You Can Help

You can take part in helping Mozambique's displaced citizens and other victims of disaster by making an online donation toward "Mozambique Flood Relief." With your support, OBI can continue to provide food, medical care and more to thousands of hurting people.