Maputo, February 2008 – For the second year in a row, Mozambique has been hit by major flooding in the centre of the country. Tens of thousands of people remain displaced from their homes by heavy seasonal rains as flood waters continue to rise over the vast Zambezi River Valley.
The flooding, a result of weeks of heavy rains throughout southern Africa, has hit some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the country, where access to social services is limited.
The Mozambican authorities have spearheaded the aid effort, coordinating closely with UN agencies. Working with the Government, local authorities and humanitarian partners, UNICEF is supporting health, nutrition, education and child-protection activities.
UNICEF is working with Health authorities to ensure cholera prevention activities are ongoing and support services are available. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets also are being distributed by health authorities with support from UNICEF, the Mozambican Red Cross, Malaria Consortium and PSI to prevent cases of malaria in the flooded areas. The malaria season is peaking, and standing water will increase breeding conditions for mosquitoes. Malaria is the main cause of child deaths in the country.
Community radios are broadcasting health and hygiene messages and mobile media units are conducting social mobilisation and outreach activities in resettlement centres.
Safe supplies of drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities are being provided to avoid the spread of water-borne diseases and improve sanitary conditions for displaced communities.
In collaboration with Education authorities, UNICEF and the Save the Children Alliance are distributing tents and school kits to ensure that children who have been evacuated to resettlement centres with their famili es can get back into school when the school year begins in late January.
Localised flooding is common in Mozambique during the southern Africa rainy season from November to March. Last year, an estimated 285,000 people were affected by floods along the Zambezi River Basin. As rising water levels caused by heavy rains flooded low-lying areas, over 100,000 people found refuge in temporary accommodation centres. Mozambique is among the world’s 20 poorest countries, ranking 172 out of 177 countries on the 2007 Human Development Index. About 58 per cent of children live below the poverty line.
Responding to the 2008 floods
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