World Vision Mozambique, in partnership with Oxfam, is providing one helicopter, and fuel for boats, for the ongoing rescue of people stranded in trees and on the tops of buildings. Yesterday one of these boats (the team) assisted in the rescue of a woman and her seven children trapped above the floodwaters in a tree. Flora Xiteve and the children climbed the tree on Sunday morning when the water was waist deep. As the water rose higher, the woman tied each of her children and herself to the highest branches. They waited there for three days to be rescued.
Xiteve said, "fearing that the children would fall asleep and fall into the water, I tied each one to a branch, and then tied myself as I was very tired."
The boat, already burdened with rescued people, evacuated the woman and four of the children. Three children were left behind, but the boat returned to pluck them to safety the next day. Xtieve would not eat until her other children were rescued. "I can't swallow anything. My throat is in a knot until my children are safe." When the remaining three children arrived in the boat, she cried and hugged them and thanked World Vision.
"Without World Vision we would not know what to do. You helped save my children, and gave us food too. Thank you very much." This dramatic scene unfolded in the World Vision Chonguene ADP in the Xai-Xai district.
Not far away in the city of Xai-Xai a 15 year old boy was killed by a crocodile as he and others tried to wade through the flooded streets.
The landscape, which formerly separated people from wild animals, has changed beyond belief. Another danger is the poisonous snakes that can be seen swimming in the floodwaters.
None of the 3,300 World Vision sponsored children in Mozambique has been killed or seriously injured.
The displaced are targeted for the expanded phase two of the relief effort which will assist up to 16,000 families. Already World Vision is distributing 3,000 Survival kits and 3,000 Recovery Kits (each family received one kit and each family is composed of 5 people).
Survival Kits, costing US$75.00, include items such as:
- plastic sheeting,
- cooking pots,
- plastic buckets,
- a knife,
- and soap.
- two hoes,
- one spade,
- one hammer, and
- one machete.
The floods will certainly exacerbate the spread of malaria. World Vision has plans to increase its prevention and treatment program for malaria. The people will be medicated and later on educated on how to lower their risk of contracting malaria. They will also receive water purification tablets to lessen the potential for cholera. Some cases in the flood zone have already been reported.
The future of Mozambique will also rely heavily on the rebuilding of infrastructure. World Vision plans to help rebuild roads and bridges in the flood zone. Some of that work could be done through Food For Work programs.
The Limpopo river is expected to rise even more in the coming days.
The Save River, further to the north, has started to recede slowly. One of the biggest worries is the lack of fuel to keep boats and vehicles operating in the flood zone. The airstrips in the area are too small to accommodate large tanker aircraft. Fuel cannot be shipped in by truck because of the washed away roads. The only option is to fly in small amounts of fuel in smaller planes that are able to land there. The needs are immense.
The rescue operation is ongoing. Mozambique will require massive relief for months to come.