ROME, 2 March (FAO) -- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched an urgent international appeal to help more than 300,000 farmers and their families in Mozambique to cope with consequences of the worst flooding to hit the country in 40 years. "Around $2.5 million are needed to help Mozambique's farmers get back to farming as quickly as possible so the country will be able to produce enough food to feed its people", FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said in a statement released today.
"The world is witnessing a human tragedy of enormous scope in Mozambique. The floods will have a long-term effect on the country. Unknown numbers of people have died and more than 150,000 people have lost their homes and are receiving emergency food aid from the World Food Programme (WFP)," Dr. Diouf said.
"A disaster of this scope would tax the resources of even the most advanced countries. But, in the case of a developing country like Mozambique, the means to cope are just not there," he added.
Flooding in the southern and central provinces of Mozambique has caused tremendous loss to crops and livestock, according to FAO. The floods have killed livestock and destroyed houses and roads. Preliminary estimates indicate that over 100,000 planted hectares have been destroyed or seriously affected, mainly crops such as maize, beans, rice, sweet potatoes, peanuts and vegetables. The government estimates that 62,600 farming households are affected by the flooding.
As soon as the floodwaters recede, and adequate funding permitting, FAO's Special Relief Operations Service together with Mozambique's Ministry of Agriculture will organize the distribution of emergency seed packages and farm tools, as well as veterinary support.
Each package will contain 10 kilograms of maize, 3 kilograms of beans and 10 grams each of tomato, onion and cabbage, as well as basic farm tools. The seeds will be procured locally and distributed in collaboration with United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local authorities, as well as farmers associations.
An in-depth field assessment will be sent to Mozambique as soon as the conditions allow.
"I want to urge the international community and individuals everywhere to support the emergency relief efforts of all United Nations agencies and NGOs working in Mozambique," Dr. Diouf said.
The FAO appeal is part of the United Nations Inter-Agency Appeal launched together with the government of Mozambique.
Inquiries should be directed to: FAO Media Office (Media-Office@fao.org) John Riddle, 0039-06-5705 3259, e-mail: John.Riddle@FAO.Org; Liliane Kambirigi, 0039-06-5705 3223, e-mail: Liliane.Kambirigi@FAO.Org; Erwin Northoff, 0039-06-5705 3105; e-mail: .