BOSTON — International agency Oxfam has aid teams in flood-affected Mozambique on high alert as very intense category 4 Cyclone Favio approaches over the Indian Ocean, bringing with it the threat of more rain and flooding.
So far 120,000 people have already been displaced by flooding and the cyclone, which is forecast to hit Mozambique on Thursday, could make delivering aid to those people even harder.
“Cyclone Favio could hit regions which are more populated than those recently flooded in west and central Mozambique. Significantly more people could be affected, with more suffering for the 120,000 people already displaced and further difficulties getting aid to those in need,” said Fabio Fussi, head of Oxfam’s humanitarian response in Mozambique.
Weather forecasters expect more heavy rain though to the middle of next week, which may hamper aid efforts already in place. Oxfam has already flown 14 tons of aid to Mozambique and is providing clean water to 6,000 people sheltering in Chupanga, a camp close to Caia, in one of the most affected areas in central Mozambique. The team is preparing to provide clean water to another five camps in the coming days.
Oxfam has also distributed cooking sets, mosquito nets, blankets, buckets and plastic sheeting to build rain covers for 600 families. It is building an average of 12 latrines a day to reduce the risk of cholera.
Oscar Samso, Oxfam aid worker in the Chupanga evacuation camp said: “When we arrived in the camp one week ago there were just four latrines for 2,500 people, and army rescue boats were bringing more and more men, women and children every day. They have been arriving in Chupanga at a rate of 1,500 a day. We have to help them immediately as they couldn’t bring anything with them. Poor families affected by the floods will need aid for at least five months, as they have lost the crops they were due to harvest next month.”
The Mozambique government is responding to the crisis with quick evacuations and improved levels of co-ordination among authorities and aid agencies.
“It is good to see that the Government is taking into account many of the lessons learnt in 2000 and 2001, when the country suffered one of its worst floods in history. We are now facing a very serious disaster that could get much worse, but at the moment the response is saving many lives,” said Fussi.