Weekly News Update 8 Mar 2000

Water is beginning to recede in flooded Mozambique but several more days of rain are in the forecast for this week. Tesfa Dalellew, MCC Africa program co-director, is receiving daily phone updates from workers on the ground. He reports drinking water is scarce, cholera is surfacing and malaria is endemic. MCC is expanding its relief efforts. In South Africa, Tim Lind is checking prices to help MCC determine which items to buy in the area -- which could arrive in Mozambique quickly -- and which items are better shipped from North America. An MCC assessment team will arrive in Mozambique on Friday, March 10.

The floods spell long-term economic catastrophe for Mozambique. Roads and bridges have been washed away, schools and hospitals destroyed. Mozambique currently pays $1.46 million U.S. a week in debt servicing to all its foreign creditors. Jubilee 2000, a campaign that MCC supports, is calling for immediate cancellation of Mozambique's external debt On March 7 the United States announced it would cancel the debt Mozambique owes to it -- a very small amount of about $2 million. According to Jubilee 2000, Mozambique's biggest creditors are the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, France, Italy, Brazil and Russia.

For more information and how you can help advocate for debt relief for Mozambique and other poor countries, in Canada, check or contact Karen Schlichting at MCC Manitoba; phone (204) 261-6381. In the United States, check or contact Martin Schupack, MCC Washington Office; phone (202) 544-6564.

Funds for Mozambique flood relief

MCC has given $32,000 Cdn./$22,000 U.S. to aid flood victims in Mozambique and plans to do much more. Preliminary ideas include providing more food, supplies such as tarps, and possibly seeds and tools so people can replant their fields when the water subsides. Checks can be sent to any MCC office, designated for "Mozambique flood relief,"
or project #5627-2000.