Maputo, Mozambique, February 26, 2007-Massive flooding in central Mozambique, made worse by last week's arrival of tropical cyclone Favio, has now forced about 165,000 people from their homes in one of Africa's poorest countries. The majority of displaced families is living in makeshift settlement areas with limited or no food, water, sanitation facilities or shelter, according to World Vision's relief teams on the ground.
"Many families who escaped the flash floods are now trapped on islands of higher ground surrounded by thick mud and filth water," said Liz Satow, a World Vision aid worker responding to the disaster. "Many have built makeshift shelters out of grass and twigs, which can't provide adequate protection from the torrential rains we're continuing to experience here."
Because of its ongoing work in Mozambique, World Vision was able to respond immediately to the crisis by ferrying people to safety and providing emergency aid. The Christian humanitarian agency has so far assisted some 70,000 people with food, tents, water purification kits, survival kits, latrine slabs, soap, water tanks and mosquito nets.
Yet the needs remain acute, as the majority of displaced families have lost their maize harvests along with their homes. At the same time, access remains a serious challenge, with many areas unreachable except by helicopter. Even where floodwaters have receded, it is still too deep for vehicles but now too shallow for boats, Satow reports.
To fund an initial three-month relief response, World Vision is seeking $2 million from private and public sources. The rainy season here continues through late March, making it impossible for most families to return home until then. Continued rains could also cause further flooding.
World Vision has worked in Mozambique since the mid 1980s, and is continuing its long-term development programs alongside its current flood response.
World Vision aid worker, Liz Satow, is available to speak to the media from Mozambique. Please contact Rachel Wolff at 253.815.2072, 253.394.2214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.