Ten years of development wiped out

Ten years worth of development has been washed away in minutes by the floods and cyclone that have devastated Mozambique. CAFOD, the Catholic agency, has been in touch with one long term partner who has been forced to watch the complete destruction of a project set up to help women heads of households to earn income from agriculture. This project alone has estimated losses at nearly $900,000.
Carla Ferreira, CAFOD's Programme Assistant for Mozambique, said that media reports describing the country as an African success story are one-sided:

"Although Mozambique is a success story at a macro economic level, it's still one of the poorest countries in the world. 90% of the population are living below the poverty line of less than one dollar a day and a staggering 65% of those people struggle to survive on half that.

"If this cyclone and floods had hit Britain or any other developed nation, the infrastructure would have survived and recovery would be much quicker. But in a poor country like Mozambique where most people work on the land, it is a disaster. Our partners are devastated... after years of progress they are back to square one."

CAFOD has warned that the situation around Maputo will get worse as another Cyclone and high river levels in neighbouring countries threaten to exacerbate the flooding. The agency estimates that the people will need massive relief aid for at least the next year as this year's crop has been destroyed. It's estimated that more than 300,000 people have lost their homes.

CAFOD has pledged an initial grant of $30,000 for the work of Caritas, the national Catholic relief organisation. The money will go to meeting immediate needs for food, and longer-term rehabilitation in housing and sanitation. The agency is also preparing to send out emergency staff to support partners' efforts to respond to the crisis.

For further information please call Fiona Fox on 0171 733 7900 (day-time) 01818814272 (evenings) or e.mail