Mozambique

UN aids Mozambique as country braces for cyclone's impact

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(New York: 20 February 2007): As tropical storm Favio bears down on southern Africa, the United Nations agencies and their humanitarian partners are working with the Government of Mozambique to provide urgent assistance to more than 120,000 people displaced by recent flooding.

Humanitarian agencies are working to provide aid for the nearly 71,000 people currently sheltering in newly-established accommodation centres, as well as the nearly 50,000 in resettlement centres established after the 2001 floods.

The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that food aid is currently being provided to 33,500 flood victims in Mozambique, while the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has provided water and sanitation supplies, including plastic sheeting, chlorine, water tanks and latrine slabs for newly established accommodation centres in Mopeia. The UNICEF is also assisting local health authorities in Caia to assess the nutritional status of children, and are supplying BP5 (high protein supplement) to supplementary feeding sites in Caia and other affected areas.

Several multi-sectoral Rapid Assessment teams have deployed around the affected areas and will evaluate areas including education, food, nutrition, health, HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, market access, shelter, protection, assistance received, infrastructure and security. The teams are expected to finish their assessments at the end of the week.

While the overall situation in Mozambique has stabilized for the moment, with diminished rainfall in the past week and the subsequent suspension of rescue/evacuation operations, humanitarian agencies are concerned about the possible impact of tropical storm Favio, which is expected to make landfall in Mozambique as a cyclone on Thursday. According to forecasts, Favio will continue to move to the west and gain intensity in the Mozambique Channel, with the probability that it will hit the Mozambican coast as a cyclone on 22 February. The WFP is investigating storage and transport options in Vilanculos in preparation for tropical storm Favio.

A number of countries throughout Southern Africa have been affected by earlier and heavier rains than usual this year, which have prompted significant flooding in Angola, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In total, the floods have affected nearly 170,000 people since mid-December 2006 and have killed nearly 150 people.

Other heavily-impacted countries include Angola, where 114 people were killed and 28,000 displaced by flooding in the capital of Luanda and surrounding areas at the end of January. The Government of Angola, supported by humanitarian agencies, is providing support to those affected, including for cholera prevention as the number of cholera cases rose in the wake of the flooding. At least 12 temporary camps have been established.

In central Madagascar, tropical storm Clovis caused floods that displaced up to 31,000 people. The WFP and its NGO partners are working to distribute some 450 tonnes of food aid to those affected, while preliminary estimates indicate that up to 70 per cent of crops have been lost due to floods. Meanwhile, southern Madagascar continues to experience less than normal rainfall this year, leaving nearly 500,000 people without adequate access to food. Affected populations will require assistance at least until the next harvest, expected in March 2007.

For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570. OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or www.reliefweb.int.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.