Coming out 'very soon': Response plan for flood-hit Mozambique

An aircraft flies over central Mozambique, which was submerged in water following heavy torrential rains in 2000. In 2013, flooding in the country has left 68 people dead and 169,000 people displaced. Photo by: Cary Humphries / U.S. Department of Defense

Aid groups are meeting today in Maputo to discuss their response in flood-hit Mozambique. A draft plan that will include an analysis of the situation and resources needed is in its “final stages.”

Flooding in parts of Mozambique has now displaced 169,000 and left at least 68 people dead, some due to secondary causes like electrocution, according to a Feb. 1 situation report by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ Regional Office for Southern Africa. Several of those who died were from the northern part of the country, which is under threat from being isolated from the rest of Mozambique, with more rains expected in the next few days.

Challenges could be exacerbated with an overflow of the Zambezi river, which, according to the National Water Directorate, was already above alert levels last week.

The flooding in the north could have ”serious humanitarian implications,” a report published yesterday by OCHA-ROSA concluded. The government is “already stretched to capacity,” that report noted.

Still, the Mozambique government has not appealed for international assistance. (It has been reluctant to receive international assistance, although in 2000, when severe floods left more than 700 people dead, it did make an appeal.)

“The situation is almost out of control but we can still manage,” National Institute of Disaster Management spokeswoman Rita Almeida told state-run TVM on Jan. 26. “We have internal capacity and we are counting on our local partners.”

Hein Zeelie of OCHA-ROSA told Devex on Friday: “At the moment, the idea is for partners to seek assistance from in-country donors. That might change, things might happen at this current meeting going on in Maputo, but at the moment, there has been no formal appeal for [international] assistance from the government.”

The U.N. humanitarian country team in Mozambique will be issuing a more detailed situation report shortly” that will detail needs and response gaps. It has also been floating a response and recovery proposal that includes appeals for donors both in-country and through OCHA’s Central Emergency Response Fund.

Meanwhile, flood waters are receding in the southern part of the country, where the response by government and aid groups is ongoing, but many rivers “continue to fluctuate above alert levels.”

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.