Over 160,000 people affected by floods in Mozambique

Floods in Mozambique 2015
Boats used to move people and goods in flood affected areas

Over 150 people have died and more than  160,000 others have been affected by the floods in northern and central Mozambique, according to information released on Friday, the 6th of February by the Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC).

The floods, resulting from  extraordinarily heavy rains which began over two weeks ago, affected the two most populous provinces of Zambezia and Nampula as well as neighboring  Niassa  province, damaging or destroying over 20,000 houses, 950 classrooms and 11 health centres.

Highlights

  • Over 150 people have died and more than 160,000 others have been affected by the floods in northern and central Mozambique
  • The Government of Mozambique, with the support of UN-led Humanitarian Country Team Working Group (HCTWG), is working to deliver emergency relief to affected communities
  • UNDP is on the ground in both most affected provinces, supporting the government and partners on information management and coordination efforts.

The Government of Mozambique, with the support of UN-led Humanitarian Country Team Working Group (HCTWG), is working to deliver emergency relief to affected communities. This includes providing people with shelter, water, food, and healthcare among others. Many UN agencies, including UNDP, WFP and UNICEF have been helping the government in these efforts in accordance with their expertise and mandates.

However, in spite of strong efforts, government leadership and partner support, there have been many serious challenges in providing relief to those who need it. In particular, with several key roads and bridges washed away, many communities are very difficult to access and the electricity grid has been cut off since January 12.  Air transportation is being used to try to overcome some of these issues with support from South African air force but this is also constrained  as the helicopters cannot land in communities still under water.

UNDP is on the ground in both most affected provinces, supporting the government and partners on information management and coordination efforts. The Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition (SETSAN), a government institution, is planning to conduct a rapid assessment of food security in the affected region and UNDP, FAO, WFP, Fews Net and World Vision are supporting with technical and financial resources. This is a particularly important exercise, not only for its short-term implications but for the medium and long-term recovery.

As far as the short term situation is concerned, numerous supply chains have been disrupted with the majority of commercial food companies unable to maintain their access to flooded areas. At the same time, Nampula city as well as Mocuba are without electricity which have closed several factories and limited the supply of fresh produce. These issues, coupled with the immediacy of lost food stores and crops, have pushed prices higher in affected areas and left many people entirely reliant on the food relief provided by the government and its partners.

With respect to the medium and long-term food security situation, preliminary reports suggest that over 70,000 families have seen their croplands impacted by flooding and heavy rains. This amounts to about 85,000 hectares of affected crops. Livestock has also suffered in the flooding, there are reports of many animals being lost while many of those that have survived are now isolated from pastures with others stolen.

As a majority of families in the affected areas rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, the impacts of these occurrences are likely to be felt for a long time. UNDP, the lead agency on early recovery efforts, will be working with local and national government and partners to ensure that the livelihood needs of the affected people are understood and addressed.

In the meantime, communities are still bracing themselves for continued difficulties as the rainy season as the rainy season will continue into March, possibly April, and the weather forecasts in the areas suggest that further heavy rains will continue in the coming days.

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