UN gears up to help floods victims in Mozambique

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 07 Jan 2008
Maputo, 7 January 2008 - The United Nations and non-governmental partners are gearing up for an emergency response in central Mozambique immediately after the national disaster management authorities declared the highest level of alert due to localised flooding in several areas of the country.

Over the past few weeks, heavy rains in Mozambique and neighbouring countries have led to a sharp rise in water levels in the Zambezi, Pungue, Buzi and Save rivers. Mozambique's disaster management agency (INGC) estimates that so far approximately 56,000 people have been affected, including 13,000 people who have been relocated to resettlement centres.

"The humanitarian community stands ready to support the Government in the ongoing response," said UN Resident Coordinator Ndolamb Ngokwey. "Over the past few months, we have been working closely with national authorities to put in place contingency plans to ensure that needs of those affected by the flooding are met expeditiously."

United Nations teams deployed to the affected regions are undertaking a rapid assessment of the flood's impact on various key areas - agriculture, water and sanitation, nutrition, education and child protection. They are working with the Mozambique's disaster management authorities, the Red Cross and non-governmental humanitarian partners on the ground to carry out a rapid assessment of the affected areas and identify the urgent needs of the affected populations. The Government is planning a more detailed multi-agency vulnerability and food security assessment for the coming week.

In anticipation of this year's rainy season, emergency supplies have been pre-positioned in several strategic locations in flood-prone areas. The supplies for distribution include shelter and non-food items, to enable a quick first-line response.

Localised flooding is common in Mozambique during the southern Africa rainy season from November to March. Last year, an estimated 285,000 people were affected by floods along the Zambezi River Basin. As rising water levels caused by heavy rains flooded low-lying areas, over 100,000 people found refuge in temporary accommodation centres.

For more information, please contact:

Luis Zaqueu, UN Communication Officer, UN Resident Coordinator's Office, Tel : (+258) 21 48 51 58/59,  Mobile: (+258) 82  308 2470

Thierry Delvigne-Jean, UNICEF, Tel: (+258) 21 481 121, Mobile: (+258) 82 312 1820; tdelvignejean@unicef.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.