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Mozambique and Malawi suffer after heavy floods

08 February 2013

by a staff reporter

SEVERE flooding in Mozambique has left dozens of people dead, and thousands homeless.

Aid agencies report that they are struggling to get through the floodwater to deliver supplies of food and medicine to affected regions in the south of the country.

An estimated 140,000 people have been made homeless, and 80 people have been killed. It is said to be the worst flooding since 2000.

The Bishop of Lebombo, in southern Mozambique, the Rt Revd Dinis Salomão Sengulane, warned that the floods were bound to affect future food security in the country. He said: "Many hectares of fields in Gaza, Sofala, Inhambane, and Manica provinces are flooded, so all crops and seeds have been completely lost."

The Bishop said that he was concerned about the possible emergence of illnesses associated with the floodwater. "Stagnant waters will become favourable places for the proliferation of mosquitoes that bring malaria," he said.

He asked that relief should focus particularly on providing mosquito nets, seeds, and replacement school materials for children.

Médecins Sans Frontières sent an emergency team to the region. It found that some areas were under 1.5 metres of water. It is treating those injured in the floods, as well as the many HIV and AIDS patients who have lost their drugs.

The homeless are being housed in 30 tent-cities erected by the government with help from the United Nations. "The Mozambican government and aid organisations are struggling to respond to the needs," a spokesperson for the UN said.

The Bishop of Upper Shire, in Malawi, the Rt Revd Brighton Malasa, said that the floods had not spared the neighbouring country, which has "similar weather patterns" to Mozambique.

Bishop Malasa said: "We have seen floods in the [Malawian] districts of Balaka, Machinga, Zomba west and Mangochi, where a majority of our parishes and institutions are. Hunger is looming since people have lost their gardens, livestock, and subsistence farming land.

"We would appreciate humanitarian support such as soap, clothes, cereals, sugar, blankets and tents. Babies also need milk [because] they are in danger of suffering from malnutrition." 


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