International Federation launches emergency appeal for flood victims in Mozambique

تم النشر: 16 فبراير 2007

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is launching an emergency appeal for 7,5 million Swiss francs (US$ 5.6 million/euro 4.3 million) to support the Mozambique Red Cross Society’s response to the devastating floods which have been affecting the country over the last month.

Torrential rains have caused rivers to overflow - including the Zambezi - and increased pressure on dams, resulting in widespread flooding in central and southern parts of Mozambique. At least 29 people have lost their lives, more than 46,000 homes have been washed away and approximately 88,600 people have been displaced. The government’s body responsible for disaster response estimates that 285,000 people may possibly be affected in the worst-case scenario. The most affected provinces are Zambezia, Sofala, Manica and Tete where flooding destroyed thousands of houses, more than 100 schools, four health centres, several roads, bridges and 15,000 hectares of crops. So far, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated by the army from the flooded Zambezi river valley, using helicopters and canoes.

“Throughout the affected areas, cases of cholera and malaria are expected to rise dramatically,” says John Roche, the International Federation’s officer for southern Africa in Geneva. “There is a need for the international community to act quickly to avoid repeating the tragedy of the floods in 2000 and 2001 when 700 people died,” he adds.

The International Federation is mobilizing its regional delegation for southern Africa, as well as a field assessment and coordination team and a logistics emergency response unit of the Danish and Swiss Red Cross Societies to assist with the reception and distribution of all incoming relief goods.

“The operation aims at providing temporary shelter to 100,000 people in the four affected provinces, as well as distributing 5,000 tents, 15,000 tarpaulins, 40,000 blankets, 20,000 kitchen sets, bars of soap and 40,000 mosquito nets,” says Hanna Schmuck, the head of the Federation’s field assessment and coordination team in Maputo. “The appeal funds will also finance the provision of safe water to affected people and the construction of 500 latrines,” she adds. Mozambique Red Cross volunteers will also conduct health education and social mobilisation campaigns to prevent cholera and other water-borne diseases.

As soon as water levels started to rise, the Mozambique Red Cross immediately mobilized 400 volunteers to provide first aid and distribute relief supplies to flood victims, to inform populations in flood-prone areas about evacuation procedures and help them relocate to safe areas. It also launched a national solidarity campaign to raise support for the relief operation. Mozambique Red Cross, working closely with the National Disaster Management Institute which is coordinating disaster response, is taking the lead for the provision of temporary shelter and relief items. Mozambique Red Cross is experienced in preparing for and responding to floods. It is working closely with other partners, including UN agencies.

On January 19, the International Federation released 37,000 Swiss francs (US$ 29,800/euro 22,700) and an additional 150,000 Swiss francs (US$ 121,000/euro 92,000) on February 11, from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Mozambique Red Cross emergency operation. It is also closely monitoring the situation and sending DREF funds to other affected countries, including Angola, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia.