Supporting those who’ve lost everything in the Mozambique floods

Report
from Caritas Australia
Published on 11 Mar 2013 View Original

Flooding in Mozambique has put hospitals and health facilitites out of action, but the Carmelo hospital has become a lifeline, helping to provide care and support to thousands of people. The hospital is run by nuns from Argentina. When the floodwaters rose, they helped carry 100 patients upstairs to safety.

Caritas Australia, the international aid and development organization of the Catholic Church, continues to work with partners in Mozambique, where almost 250,000 people have been affected by flooding, including an estimated 180,000 temporarily displaced.

Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula from the Diocese of Xai-Xai in Mozambique, has been working closely with Caritas Australia’s partner Caritas Chokwe in the aftermath of the disaster. He’s currently in Australia visiting parishes and schools in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra as part of Caritas Australia’s major annual fundraiser Project Compassion.

The offices of Caritas Regional Chokwe, Caritas Australia’s partner in the region, as well as the Bishop’s own house, were flooded.

One of the communities Caritas Chokwe works with in Matuba was also badly affected. Matuba is the village, featured in this year’s Project Compassion story on Ditosa, a 12-year-old girl who lost both her parents to HIV/AIDS and receives support through the Caritas Australia funded Matuba Children’s Centre.

Caritas Australia’s Africa Program Co-ordinator, Sister Ivy Khoury, recently visited Ditosa’s community in Matuba to support Caritas Chokwe’s Director, Mama Cacilda.

“Sadly Ditosa’s family was one of the 43 families who have lost everything including their houses and crops,” Sister Ivy said.

“When the floods came in January, Ditosa was at the centre and the children were asked to hurry and go back home, but when Ditosa arrived she found the water had reached half way up her house.

“She searched for her grandmother and sister and couldn’t find them only her neighbour who looked after her for five days.”

In the meantime, Ditosa’s grandmother and sister lived on the top of the roof of a house.

Thousands displaced by the flooding fled to a camp in Chiaquelane. After five days without eating or drinking, the water went down so that Ditosa could go to the camp where 70,000 were based and she stayed for one week.

She has only recently returned to her home and found nothing left. The Matuba Children’s Centre wasn’t damaged by the floodwaters, but the village has been badly affected.

“The floods have been devastating and people have lost everything, but Caritas will continue to stand in solidarity with Ditosa, her family and the people of Matuba and Chokwe region,” Sister Ivy said.

Caritas Australia, recently committed $70,000 (AU) to help those affected.

Sister Ivy said some of that money is helping provide food, water and medical supplies to sick patients at the Catholic Carmelo Hospital in the Chokwe District.

“The recent floods put the main hospitals and health structures out of action, but the Carmelo hospital has become a lifeline, helping to provide care and support to thousands of people in the community,” Sister Ivy said.

“The church next door has also been made into a makeshift hospital to cope with demand.

“When I was there I went through the hospital which was run by nuns from Argentina. Not only are they organising and running supplies for the hospital, when the floodwaters rose they helped carry 100 patients upstairs to safety.

“Like Ditosa, Mama Cacilda and the work of Caritas Chokwe, they are an inspiration to us all.”

For more information on Ditosa, the Matuba Children’s Centre and Project Compassion visit our Project Compassion page.

Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula from Xai Xai Mozambique and Sister Ivy Khoury are available for interviews.

Media contact and high resolution images: Nicole Clements – 0408 869 833 or nicolec@caritas.org.au