Mozambique: Race to Help Resettle Flood Victims

With the imminent start of the planting season, the race is on to provide emergency assistance to more than 100,000 vulnerable flood victims in Mozambique currently in largely inaccessible sites.

Persistent heavy rainfall in central and northern Mozambique in January and February this year caused large-scale flooding and destruction in the Zambezi river basin which runs through four of the country's 10 provinces.

About 285,000 people were directly affected by the floods, with 163,000 of them displaced from their homes and land. An estimated 107,500 have sought safety in temporary and often inaccessible sites with the remainder taking shelter in resettlement centres established by the government following the massive floods in 2000 and 2001.

Although the waters from the Zambezi have now having largely receded, the loss of homes, crops and livelihoods has left most of the affected in a particularly vulnerable state.

In a bid to prevent such large-scale losses in the future, the Mozambican government is working hard to identify and allocate nearly 24,000 parcels of land on higher and safer ground in order to resettle the displaced. Families will have their main homestead in these areas but are expected to continue their traditional agricultural activities along the fertile margins of the Zambezi.

IOM will be providing non-food items to those displaced who have received the least assistance so far after receiving nearly US$800,000 from the UN's Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF). Priority needs are shelter framing materials, fixings, blankets, sleeping mats, tarpaulins and tool kits.

The Organization will also provide critical support to the Mozambican government for the resettlement activities. With partners, IOM will establish mobile operational units in the field to help identify, demarcate and legalize thousands of family home sites with a view to maintaining access to livelihoods, traditional lands and essential social services.

"It is essential that we get help to people very fast and that they are able to restart their lives in the next few weeks. If they are unable to start planting in the next few weeks, it will be that much harder to recover from the disaster," said Mark Heffernan, IOM's chief of mission in Mozambique.

The funds from CERF will also enable IOM and its partners to support a substantial number of families affected by Cyclone Favio, which damaged thousands of homes, hospitals, schools and crops in one of the country's prime tourist zones in the northern Inhambane province.

For further information, please contact Mark Heffernan, IOM Mozambique, Tel: +258 82 07 23 700, email: mheffernan@iom.int

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