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Mozambique on Orange Alert over Heavy Rains

Mozambique on Orange Alert over Heavy Rains
© INGC/2012
Authorities in Mozambique with continuing United Nations support have significantly improved their disaster response and preparedness in the past decade.

Maputo, 18 January 2013 - Thousands of people have been displaced in Mozambique after a severe spell of rains resulted in flooding in northern parts of the country, as well as in the capital Maputo. The government estimates that more than 18 thousand people are affected mainly in Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Sofala and  Zambézia. A number of deaths are reported, as well as damage to infrastructure and crops.

“So far, we know of a total of seven deaths, including children, but this number may increase as the situation on the ground is still developing,” says UNICEF Deputy Representative Roberto de Bernardi.

With an institutional “Orange Alert” declared by the government for the most affected regions, the National Institute for Disaster Management, INGC, with support from various United Nations agencies and other partners, is mobilising additional staff in Caia, in northwestern Mozambique to monitor the flow of the river Zambezi and to ensure early warning systems are in place, as more rains and ensuing floods are expected.

The Institute is also coordinating the relief and preparedness effort with national and local government agencies to make sure the immediate needs of the affected population are being adequately addressed.

Since 2000, when one of the worst floods killed several hundred and displaced hundreds of thousands of people across the country, authorities with continuing United Nations support have significantly improved their disaster response and preparedness.

“We have seen a steady decrease in the number of casualties over the past decade as national and local government response becomes more robust,” says Mr. De Bernardi.

“The deployment of mobile health units and early warning systems are two examples of crucial disaster response that has greatly improved in the past years.”

UNICEF is actively supporting INGC in its management of the emergency preparedness and response, including through its local and community radio partners, who are currently broadcasting public awareness messages in high-risk areas, alerting communities to health, hygiene, and preparedness concerns, particularly targeting families and schoolchildren.

For more information, please contact

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org

 

 
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