Maputo — UNICEF is seeking US$6.8 million to meet the needs of tens of thousands of children and women affected by severe flooding of the Limpopo River in Mozambique.
Some of the country's heaviest rainfall in years prompted an Orange Alert on 12 January and a Red Alert on 22 January. The southern province of Gaza is hardest hit by the flooding, in particular Chokwe and Guija districts. More than 80 people have died and up to 200,000 people have been displaced.
"The magnitude of the flooding in the last few weeks has meant that emergency supplies and funding has been depleted," said UNICEF Representative Jesper Morch. "It is clear that we urgently need additional funds if we are to help many children and families recover from their losses and rebuild their lives."
Floodwaters are slowly receding and people are returning but a large clean-up is required before affected areas are fit for living. Meanwhile new floods in the central and northern regions of the country have displaced 45,000 more people, seriously stretching the capacity to respond.
The Government has provided US$10 million in aid, and another US$5.3 million has been released by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, in addition to bilateral, non-governmental and faith-based in-kind contributions and financial assistance. The Humanitarian Country Team in Mozambique - composed of UN and non-governmental organisations - requires a total of US$30.6 million for relief operations, of which $6.8 million is for UNICEF's support to children, their families and communities.
Relief plans outline immediate short-term funding needs including access to clean water and adequate sanitation, shelter, food, health care and protection. The plans also include establishing schools and health care services, as well as initiatives to restore livelihoods as people return, rebuild their homes and start work and agricultural production again.
UNICEF's response will focus on critical water supply and hygiene issues; plugging gaps in basic health care services; ensuring adequate nutrition; and provision of psycho-social support. In addition, over 180 primary schools and 54,000 pupils have been affected by the floods. UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Education to provide classroom tents and learning materials.