Mozambique sees long-term response

BY SUSAN KIM | Baltimore, MD | August 30, 2000

looding in January and February drove

more than 300,000 people from their

homes, killed at least 70 people, and

subjected millions to outbreaks of cholera,

meningitis, and malaria. Floodwaters also

affected South Africa, Botswana,

Zimbabwe, and Namibia in what was

deemed the worst flooding experienced in

the region in decades. More than 800,000

people have been affected throughout the


Currently there are still more than 100

resettlement camps, housing more than

one million homeless people, according to

the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). Many are still in need of blankets, food, medicine,

and other personal items.

In a church-wide appeal, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Methodist churches

raised more than $1 million to support Mozambique relief. Since February, UMCOR has sent several

shipments of relief supplies to Mozambique containing medical supplies, home and school kits, bedding,

blankets, dehydrated potatoes, oral-re-hydration salts, water treatment units, emergency ration bars, and

mosquito netting.

Many faith-based agencies have joined UMCOR in long-term response.

The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) is administering an animal restocking

program to help farmers replace lost goats, chickens, and other small animals. CRWRC is also in the

process of selecting volunteers from the U.S. and Canada who may want to travel to Mozambique to assist

with long-term recovery efforts.

Immediately after the disaster, Church World Service (CWS) responded to a request from the Christian

Council of Mozambique (CCM) for $10,000 in CWS Blanket Funds to provide blankets for 2,000 people.

CWS is now providing long-term technical assistance, as well as further rehabilitation program support to

the CCM. CWS consultant Ivan Dekam traveled to Mozambique to provide support and evaluate technical


The Action by Churches Together (ACT) coalition is considering expanding its ongoing rehabilitation

activities in Mozambique. As response shifts into long-term recovery and rehabilitation, new and ongoing

programs would focus on 457,500 flood survivors through February 2001.

Current and future response initiatives by CWS and ACT are addressing food distribution and

infrastructure rehabilitation, including public buildings, schools, rural roads, and bridges. Response

agencies are also focusing on well rehabilitation and well drilling, health and sanitation, food production,

and shelter.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and ACT report that, on the surface, some flood-affected areas

appear normal. In parts of the Gaza province, for example, electricity, water, and communications have

been restored to Chokwe, the administrative and commercial center, and stores and the market are open.

But standing water is a dangerous source of disease-carrying mosquitoes. Piles of destroyed furnishing and

dirt litter the area, and it is still difficult to travel to remote areas due to flood-damaged infrastructure.

"The threat of malaria hangs over the country, even without the floods. But now even more people are

vulnerable," said Sonny Enriquez, team leader for emergency relief with Michigan-based International Aid,

a Christian relief agency. "Also, for many families there has been no closure, because their loved ones are

still missing but have never been found. Sometimes it's easier to face the future if you know what

happened - but many people don't," he said.

Thousands of people in Mozambique are still in the throes of flood recovery. LWF and ACT report that

there is a continuing, but diminishing, need to support the food security of flood-affected populations,

particularly in the Guija and Mabalane areas north of the Limpopo River.

Many of these flood survivors lost crops and were some of the last to return to their homes after the

floods - and the last to be able to plan new crops.

Flooding also affected Madagascar, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, where communities also lost homes,

livestock, crops, school buildings, health clinics, and roads. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) responded in

those areas, providing essential household items as well as potable water and medical supplies to flood


Areas around the Save and Taganda rivers, in eastern Zimbabwe, were especially hard hit. Crops were

swept away or completely buried under mud and sand. Roads were severely damaged or obstructed by

debris and a quarter of the region's population, of some 90,000 people, required food assistance.

CRS also provided food distribution, roofing sheets, wood poles, roofing nails, and wire for building

shelter. CRS continues to coordinate relief efforts in Zimbabwe with the Catholic Development Education

Office (CADEC) in Mutare diocese to reach more than 15,000 survivors with basic food and essential

household items.

CADEC will is also helping to build temporary shelters for displaced individuals and helping to repair and

reconstruct public buildings.

Economically, the Mozambican government is hoping that a new project to mine mineral sands in

southern Mozambique will inject much-needed capital into the impoverished region.

At least 300 people will be employed in the $500 million construction phase of the project which will mine a

large titanium deposit. The Gaza province, where the mine will be located, was battered by the heavy

flooding as well. In that province, hundreds of thousands of people were forced from their homes.

Floodwaters damaged road, rail, and power links.

In Madagascar, where more than 200 people died in floods, CRS is working with partners in the dioceses of

Tamatave, Fianarantsoa, and Morondava to help some 90,000 people rehabilitate their homes and

communities. Additional support is going to the diocese of Antalaha to help rehabilitate health centers and

schools. That program is working in coordination with a food-for-work project that is also funded by the

Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints. Food-for-work programs offer food to sustain families in

exchange for their work rebuilding on their own homes, repairing their community infrastructure, or

rehabilitating damaged crops.

ADRA recently pledged an additional $250,000 worth of medical supplies for Mozambique. In Xinavane,

ADRA rehabilitated a rural hospital that provides medical assistance to 45,000 residents of the Manica

District. ADRA also distributed emergency kits to 48,000 people in the northern Maputo and southern

Gaza provinces.

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