The Government of Mozambique declared a Red Alert on the afternoon of 3 January 2008 following a meeting of the Council of Ministers in light of the current localised flooding in parts of the country due to heavy rainfall in Mozambique and in neighbouring Zimbabwe and Zambia. National disaster management authorities in Mozambique are evacuating river communities along the rivers in an effort to mitigate the impact of impending floods on these populations. It is estimated that so far 56,000 people in the low-lying districts around the Zambezi, Save, Buzi and Pungue rivers in the Provinces of Sofala, Tete and Zambezia are already affected. As the rains continue, it is likely that the number of people in need will dramatically increase within a very short period of time. The affected population will require assistance, including food and basic services in areas such as health, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protection. In any disaster, including these floods, children suffer the most. Of the estimated affected population more than half are children who are most vulnerable to waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea, hunger and trauma in this poverty-stricken region and require urgent assistance in order to survive. Under the coordination of the IASC Humanitarian Country Team in Mozambique UNICEF and its partners, including sister UN agencies and international and national non-governmental organisations, are working closely with the Government of Mozambique to respond swiftly and effectively to the developing crisis. UNICEF is requesting an initial US$ 4,850,000 to meet the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women throughout the affected areas.
Immediate Needs Document - Mozambique Floods 07 Jan 2008 [pdf]
During the first months of 2007, Mozambique experienced two simultaneous natural disasters, the Zambezi River Basin Flood Emergency, which affected an estimated 285,000 people, and Cyclone Favio, which affected a further 133,670 people across the southern province of Inhambane. UNICEF Mozambique worked closely with the Government and other partners to meet the basic needs of over 107,000 flood-affected people sheltered in accommodation centres along the Zambezi River Basin, and supported over 35,000 people with shelter and access to restored basic services in the cyclone affected areas of Inhambane. UNICEF continues to support recovery and resettlement efforts underway in the flood and cyclone affected areas and supported the Government to develop a Resettlement Plan prioritising the provision of basic services in resettlement zones.
The experience and lessons learned from the 2007 flood and cyclone emergency highlight the need to continue enhancing the capacity of national disaster management authorities and line ministries to prepare for and respond to the natural disasters that Mozambique faces on a yearly basis. It also underscores the importance of strengthening coordination and partnerships within the Mozambique Humanitarian Country Team and the Humanitarian Clusters to better support the efforts of the Government of Mozambique in facing the challenges posed by natural disasters and the resulting chronic vulnerability in the country. The momentum generated by this year’s emergencies is being harnessed to strengthen collaboration, coordination and partnerships between the Government and the Humanitarian Country Team for future emergency preparedness and disaster mitigation and response efforts.
Mozambique Humanitarian Action Update 15 Nov 2007 [pdf]
In recent years, Mozambique has made encouraging strides in reducing its crippling poverty levels and is making gradual progress towards benchmarks set by the national Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Nevertheless, Mozambique remains one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 168 out of 177 countries on the 2005 Human Development Index, mainly due to the country’s chronic state of vulnerability and humanitarian crisis.
The country is also vulnerable to natural disasters and was affected by severe floods and cyclone Favio at the beginning of this year. UNICEF immediately responded to the needs of affected children and their families, and employed over US $6.7 million in preparing and responding to the emergencies. UNICEF is requesting US$ 5.7 million for the remainder of the year (July-December 2007) to ensure appropriate emergency preparedness measures and immediate and effective support to national emergency response in the upcoming rainy season.
Mozambique Donor Update 3 Jul 2007 [pdf]
In the last few months, the “El Nino” phenomenon, blamed for severe flooding that affected much of the Horn in late 2006, has extended its impact across Southern Africa. Resultant flooding has coincided with the cyclone season (December-April) in which, thus far, Madagascar and Mozambique have been seriously affected while riverine communities in Zambia have experienced localized displacement. Significant damage to infrastructure has been assessed, especially in Mozambique including schools, health facilities, roads and food stores. Both the cyclone and rainy seasons are projected to extend into April, entailing further possible hardship for children and families in South-Eastern Africa.
An almost unprecedented number of countries in the region are now also reporting acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) or cholera cases, several of which have been in sustained crisis for many months. UNICEF offices in South-Eastern Africa are now responding to meet the acute humanitarian needs that both exacerbate chronic vulnerabilities and complicate efforts towards the broader progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
East and Southern Africa Donor Update 30 Mar 2007 [pdf]
The high level of rainfall in Mozambique, compounded by persistent heavy rains in neighbouring countries Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, has led to high water levels in the Zambezi river and its tributaries, as well as in the Cahora Bassa Dam Reservoir. While discharges from the dam have been reduced as of 20 February, the threat of floods is still present. Furthermore, the arrival of Cyclone Favio is further seriously aggravating the situation.
As of 20 February, approximately 120,791 people are estimated to have been displaced due to the floods. UNICEF urgently requires funding to ensure displaced chidlren have access to basic services, learning opportunities and a protective environment in accommodation centres.
Mozambique donor update 23 February 2007