floods crisis as heavy rains lash

RESCUE MISSION: Mozambican soldiers and disaster management officials search along the Zambezi River in Chirembwe, Tete Province, for victims after floods devastated the country, killing dozens of people and displacing tens of thousands of others. 21/01/08. © UNICEF.
RESCUE MISSION: Mozambican soldiers and disaster management officials search along the Zambezi River in Chirembwe, Tete Province, for victims after floods devastated the country, killing dozens of people and displacing tens of thousands of others. 21/01/08. © UNICEF.

MAPUTO - The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has begun flying in food and shelter to thousands of victims of heavy flooding in Mozambique, the agency has said.

MAPUTO - The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has begun flying in food and shelter to thousands of victims of heavy flooding in Mozambique, the agency has said.

The operation is likely to continue for some days this week.

About 2,2 tonnes of mosquito nets, tents and plastic sheeting were flown in by helicopter on Monday to the Mutarara region, while the first deliveries of food were expected to be made to Goligoli, where more than 13000 people have been displaced by the floods, said the WFP.

"The WFP is planning to deliver 74 megatonnes of food to Goligoli, which should take the helicopter about four to five days," it said.

Many of the flood victims remain stranded in areas that can no longer be reached by road, such as in the Tete, Sofala and Manica provinces.

The WFP has already begun delivering food assistance by road.

Before the current crisis the WFP had been providing aid to about 190000 people who lost their crops during the Zambezi floods early last year.

The National Institute of Disaster Management said last week that current flooding in Mozambique could cause more material damage than the catastrophic experience of 2000-2001, when torrential rains swept through the country and claimed more than 700 lives.

Since late November when the rainy season started, the heavy downpour has led to a sharp rise in the levels of the Zambezi, Pongue, Buzi and Save rivers in the central and southern parts of the country.

More than 70000 people have been resettled, particularly in schools and other public buildings. - Sapa-AFP

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