Mozambique: UN Warns of Displacement Crisis

Maputo — The United Nations estimates that the number of people displaced by flooding in Mozambique’s southern province of Gaza has increased to 150,000.

However, the UN’s news agency IRIN warns that “the Mozambican government and aid organisations are struggling to respond to the needs”.

Thousands of residents of the town of Chokwe fled to higher ground as the Limpopo River rose rapidly on 22 January. Many are now in a camp 30 kilometres away at Chiaquelane where the government and aid agencies are distributing emergency rations and tents.

According to UN representative Lola Castro aid has been distributed as fast as possible but by 26 January only a fraction of the estimated 54,000 people staying at the camp had access to a tent or a tarpaulin.

Castro told IRIN “last year we had two cyclones and we used all the shelters we had in stock. That equipment has not been replaced. In June we started to alert the main donors that we needed extra funds for that, but it is only now the donors are responding to that request”.

IRIN warns that shortages of medicines, oral rehydration salts and mosquito nets have also been reported, with cases of malaria and diarrhoea at the camp in Chiaquelane.

The situation across the country could deteriorate as a storm system is forecast to bring heavy rains to the northern between 29 January and 4 February.

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