lunedì 11 febbraio 2008

11.02.08 Alluvioni Mozambico

La Nazioni Unite hanno diffuso un appello per raccogliere 90 milioni di dollari di aiuti per le centinaia di migliaia di persone danneggiate dalle alluvioni che recentemente hanno colpito alcuni paesi dell’Africa australe. I governi locali e le agenzie umanitarie stanno facendo in modo che “la crisi non diventi una catastrofe”, dal momento che, spiega una nota, la stagione delle piogge è ancora in corso. I fondi saranno inviati in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbawe e Mozambico, i paesi maggiormente colpiti dal maltempo.

Mozambique News Agency AIM Reports
Flooding in Zambezi valley set to worsen as floodgates open
The Director of the Mozambican government's relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC), Paulo Zucula, has warned that flooding which has hit the Zambezi valley looks set to worsen as heavy rain further upstream works its way down the river basin. Currently 95,278 people have been made homeless, with 150,108 in need of food aid. Zucula was addressing a session of the Disaster Management Coordinating Council on 8 February in the town of Caia on the south bank of the Zambezi. The meeting was chaired by President Armando Guebuza, who has been visiting the province to witness first-hand damage caused by the flooding. Zucula warned that the situation is deteriorating, and further complicated by people returning to their homes as the levels of the rivers fluctuate. Zucula lamented that as a result "some people have had to be evacuated and supported at least twice". Flooding is likely to worsen before the rainy season ends in March. The Kariba dam, on the Zimbabwe/Zambia border on 11 February opened one of its floodgates. This will send a flood surge down the Zambezi and may force the Cahora Bassa dam to increase its discharges, worsening the flooding in the provinces of Manica, Tete, Sofala and Zambezia. "The situation could get much worse", said Zucula, "with increased needs for evacuation and support". He warned against concentrating more on food supply than basic sanitation in the resettlement areas, pointing out that a cholera outbreak could have disastrous consequences. "Lack of hygiene kills many more people than hunger does", he pointed out. He noted that the current floods on the Zambezi are already worse than those of 2001. The floods on the Save and Buzi rivers are the worst since Mozambican independence in 1975, while the flood on the Pungue, west of Beira, is approaching historically high levels. The Zambezi and its largest tributary, the Shire, have bust their banks in a massive fashion, with water spreading out for kilometres in all directions, forming a vast shallow lake, where it is hard to detect the original river bed. Maps of the flooded valley show that the current disaster is approaching the worst-case scenario drawn up by the World Food Programme (WFP). Zucula said the number of people directly affected by the flooding was now 95,278 – this figure refers to those who have lost their homes, and does not include those who have only lost crops. The evacuation operations have kept the death toll low: Zucula said there were now nine confirmed deaths. A further 5,608 people had been affected by localized flooding caused by torrential rains outside of the main river basin. Most of these are in Mogovolas district, in the northern province of Nampula. In terms of other damage, 119 wells and boreholes, and 689 latrines had been submerged. 475 classrooms are under water, affecting over 72,000 pupils. The current estimate for damage to agriculture is that 117,308 hectares of crops have been lost. The number of people requiring food aid – 150,108 – is many more than those living in the resettlement areas. So far, 118,021 of these have benefited from food distribution. The government has approved expenditure of 80.2 million meticais (about $3.4 million) on implementing actions in the INGC contingency plan. But so far only 20 million meticais has been disbursed.

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