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UNICEF steps up its emergency response to the Mozambique floods

Teams of specialists deployed to affected areas to assess the impact of floods on communities

Maputo, 7 January 2008 – UNICEF is stepping up its emergency response in Mozambique as the country is bracing itself for widespread flooding due to weeks of heavy rains in Southern Africa.

A significant increase in water levels in the Zambezi, Pungue, Buzi and Save rivers has prompted the Mozambican disaster management agency to declare the highest level of alert in the central part of the country. So far an estimated 56,000 people have been affected by localized flooding, including 13,000 people who have been relocated to existing resettlement centres.

“We are monitoring the situation very closely and are taking action to support the ongoing response,” said the Head of UNICEF in Mozambique Leila Pakkala. “The floods have hit some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities so our immediate priority is to improve the living conditions of the people who have been displaced – half of whom are children.”

As part of the efforts by the humanitarian community to support Mozambique’s response, UNICEF and several other partners have deployed teams of specialists in the affected areas to assess the impact of the localized flood in various key areas – water and sanitation, agriculture, nutrition, education and child protection. UNICEF teams on the ground are presently in Sofala province and will be moving to Manica and Tete provinces in the coming days. Working with the Mozambique’s disaster management authorities, the Red Cross and other international and national partners, the teams are identifying the most urgent needs of children and their families.
 
Critical emergency supplies have also been pre-positioned in flood-prone areas for a quick first-line response, and are being mobilized as needs are identified. The supplies include items such as water bladders and water purification equipment, hygiene and sanitation supplies, long lasting mosquito nets, plastic sheeting and tents, and a range of educational materials.

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.

For more information, please contact:

Thierry Delvigne-Jean, UNICEF, Tel: (+258) 21 481 121; Mobile: (+258) 82 312 1820; tdelvignejean@unicef.org

 

 
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