- Devastating floods displace 169,000 people in Gaza Province
- LWF Project Areas in Gaza province severely affected
- LWF distributes items to most vulnerable households
- Rapid Needs Assessment is almost completed
- Preliminary ACT Appeal due out 7th February
- LWF Coordinating at national and district levels
- LWF plans relief and recovery support
- Immediate challenges – Access and Information Gaps
Albert Shambale lives with his seven children in a camp for people displaced by floods in Mozambique. © LWF/Melany Markham
Devastating floods displace 169,000 people in Gaza Province
Mozambique is trying to recover from the worst floods in over a decade. Moderate to intense rains in the flood-struck south have caused damage to thousands of households, interrupting road infrastructures and electricity and drainage systems. New floods have temporarily displaced an additional 19,000 people, bringing the total number of temporarily displaced to 169,000 as of 1 February. An estimated 80 people have died in the floods, including cases due to secondary causes such as electrocution. It is primarily the southern province of Gaza and particularly the Limpopo valley. The town of Chokwe is the worst affected at this stage. 70,000 people living in or close to this town have been forced to flee and are now living in Chiquelane, creating a temporary camp. Other areas of Gaza Province are inaccessible except by helicopter – a major obstacle to both the assessment and delivery of aid.
People queue for a boat that will take them away from a flooded area in Gaza Province, southern Mozambique.© LWF/Melany Markham
(Source: BBC News Africa website 25th Jan 2013)
The recent heavy rains have also damaged crops in southern and central Mozambique which could lead to widespread food insecurity over the coming months. Mozambique already has chronically high levels of food insecurity that affects nine million people (39% of the population). Source – ACAPS website: http://geo.acaps.org/
The relief effort is being led by the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) with the support of the National Civil Protection Unit (UNAPROC). A red alert was issued by the Disaster Management Coordination Council on 22nd January.
LWF Project Areas in Gaza Province severely affected
The floods have affected all of the communities where LWF works in the Gaza province. The districts of Chokwe, Chigubo, Mabalane and Guija are all severely affected and many staff are either living in temporary camps or have been relocated to Maputo. There are over 1600 households in areas that cannot yet be reached. Some of these households are beneficiaries of existing LWF programs which the assessment team will attempt to reach via air over the next week. Information from the other districts is still limited.
The LWF Project office in Gaza has been flooded and staff members and their families are among those who have lost their homes.
The main street in Chokwe close to where the LWF Gaza office is located was devastated by the flood waters © LWF/Melany Markham
LWF distributes items to most vulnerable households
LWF has already distributed the following items from its ware house in Maputo, to the most vulnerable households:
- 95 plastic sheets,
- 25 soap cartons,
- 3 cartons of baby kits and
- 30 bales of quilts/blankets
Shelter and food are a priority. Current food stocks will not last for more than a month, so more food stocks will be needed if people do not return to their homes within this timeframe.
Rapid Needs Assessment is almost completed
LWF Mozambique has dispatched an assessment team with support from LWF’s Emergency HUB in Nairobi to conduct a rapid needs assessment in the Chiquelane camp for people displaced by the floods near Chokwe, the town that has been hit the hardest. The Assessment will be completed by the end of this week and full report will be shared on Friday 7th February. The Government of Mozambique’s relief agency (INGC) is managing and implementing the distribution of aid in the Chiquelane camp and have distributed a list of aid items among aid agencies.
Barnaba Shokole, Regional Emergency Officer (L) and Phineaus, ACT Focal Point talk to a man from one of the areas worst affected by flooding in Gaza province, Mozambique. LWF/Melany Markham
LWF’s own assessment estimates that there is currently a need for the following items in the minimum quantities:
- 10,000 mosquito nets,
- 1,000 Rolls of plastic sheeting,
- 10,000 blankets,
- 3,000 sets of dining/cooking utensils,
- water purification chemicals,
- 10,000 plastic water containers,
- sanitation kits for families (soap, tooth brushes, tooth paste etc) ,
- 3000 hygiene kits (mainly for girls and women).
Most of these items can be bought in Maputo and transported by truck to the affected communities, but this is contingent upon having an operational base in the affected area. The Program Coordinator is travelling to the temporary camp today (6th Feb) to find land and an office from where LWF can work.
A family of 22 people live in this collection of tents below a tree in a camp for people displaced by floods in Mozambique. LWF/Melany Markham
Preliminary ACT Appeal due out 7th February
LWF Mozambique is the current chair of the ACT Forum and so will coordinate efforts by its members including CEDES and CCM An Alert was issued on the 25th January 2013 and a preliminary ACT Appeal is due out 7th February 2013 and a full Appeal by 25th February 2013
LWF Coordinating at national and district levels
LWF has been participating in interagency coordination meetings at district and national level. This will be increased in coming weeks to boost LWF visibility in the forums both at national and field level. The INGC is the main coordinating mechanism. LWF Mozambique as both ACT coordinator and also an INGO is currently preparing its appeal for immediate implementation in communities that are accessible in our program areas.
LWF staff living in the temporary camp are still working and are attending daily coordination meetings. These staff update the assessment team on a daily basis which enables the team to coordinate the LWF response with other agencies on the ground.
Crops destroyed by flood waters from the Limpopo River in Mozambique. Tens of thousands of people have had their crops destroyed by the floods.
© LWF/Melany Markham
LWF plans relief and recovery support
LWF Mozambique is:
- Negotiating land and office space to set up an operational base today 6th February in Chiquelane,
- is trying to get on a WFP Helicopter to carry out an assessment in the difficult to reach areas,
- is getting in touch with partners to discuss the diversion of SON funds to the relief response,
- is informing partners of the status of the appeal and the need for fund raising,
- is letting partners know when we will send photos and stories
- and that staff are working hard to deal with the situation despite the immediate challenges,
- Accessibility issues mean that LWF will try to address impending food shortages and focus on helping people rebuild their lives during the recovery phase.
- is planning to provide plastic sheeting, blankets, water purification kits, hygiene kits, kitchen utensils, soap, mosquito nets, seeds and farm implements to 70,000 affected persons.
- In addition, LWF is also planning to distribute cash transfers as soon as the displaced people return home and the market system starts working.
Access is a major problem – hampering the assessment and distribution of relief goods to affected communities © LWF/Melany Markham
Immediate challenges – Access and Information gaps
All aid agencies are facing accessibility issues to large parts of the affected areas. In the area close to the Chiquelane camp there is a shortage of accommodation and office space due to the number of government and aid workers already in the area. Most LWF staff based in this area are also living in camps or have relocated to Maputo.
As the floods have destroyed crops, hundreds of thousands of people are threatened with long term food insecurity. This has the potential to affect the country’s entire population with food shortages forcing up food prices. Therefore a major priority, once people return to their homes, is to distribute seeds so that they can plant food in time for the next harvest.
As the water recedes and the Government repairs roads and constructs temporary bridges LWF staff will then be able to access the communities and begin delivering aid. Both the INGC and commercial operators are providing transportation to the affected areas as far as possible which will help people return to their homes once floods waters have receded sufficiently. There are no security or protection concerns at this time.
There is limited information from both the government INGC and UN systems. Coordination and information sharing is ad hoc, at best. Organizations, such as LWF, who are already on the ground, have the advantage of meeting aid workers from other agencies and Government representatives informally and this is the way much substantive information is gathered.
Next SITREP due 11th February 2013
Prepared by George Mkanza, LWF Mozambique, Country Representative