Major floods devastate the Zambeze basin, the main river in Mozambique. MSF brings first aid to populations displaced by these floods, providing basic sanitation and hygiene conditions, as well as monitoring the presence of related diseases such as cholera. Floods in Mozambique are a seasonal phenomenon. The extent of the floods this year is larger due to the rain in Mozambique in conjunction with heavy rainfall in neighbouring countries. The dams are not coping well with the volume of water and are discharging excessively into the Zambeze basin. Preparedness plans are apparently efficient; local and provincial capacity exists but is reaching its limits due to the number of sites where internally displaced persons (IDP) are gathered. Around 71,000 people are now in accommodation centres and 50,000 in transit areas (transit areas + accommodation centres = 50 camps for a total of around 120,000 people). The Mozambique government (GoM) and the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) are making a big effort in mounting rescue operations.
The main objective of MSF operations is to provide basic assistance for a period of one to two months to the population displaced by the floods. The main priority is to provide clean and drinkable water to the displaced, distribute plastic sheeting to build temporary shelters, and provide much needed items such as bucket kits (including jerry cans, kitchen and hygiene items, blankets and bed nets) to guarantee minimal hygienic conditions in the camps. MSF will also set up a surveillance system in the health posts to detect malnutrition and epidemic diseases like measles and diarrhoeal diseases including cholera. MSF launched an assessment mission on 2 February, in Mutarara, Tete and started the same week to provide water and shelter in two camps to 2,900 displaced people. A second assessment mission started on 13 February, in the Sofala and Zambezia provinces. MSF decided to concentrate its operations in the south of the Mutarara district, in the area of Inhangoma, just between the two provinces of Sofala and Zambezia and in the Mopeia and Chinde districts, in the south of Zambezia province. In the south of the Mutarara district there are around 41,500 displaced people reported in accommodation centres but access is not easy: the road from Nyamayabue (the capital of Mutarara district) to Inhamgoma has been flooded for three weeks and the only possibility to reach the population is by boat or by helicopter. The team has been in place since February 2nd and was reinforced Saturday. A water system and latrines were built in the Nhumbo and Bawe camps, where around 2,900 people are living. Considering the difficulty of the different options to access to Mutarara, it has been decided to move the logistical back-up base of the operations to Blantyre in Malawi. Yesterday, a truck carrying two boats left for Mutarara. More than 16,000 IDPs are reported to be in the Mopeia and Chinde districts and are located in different camps. A first truck with hygiene and sanitation materials, tools to build temporary shelters and a boat arrived yesterday in Mopeia to allow the team to start water and sanitation activities and make a distribution of material in the two camps of Zona Verde and 24 de Julho. A charter plane with 23 tons of materials (water and sanitation kits, mosquito nets, hygiene kits) arrived in Quelimane this morning and another with 27 tons will land Thursday in Blantyre (Malawi).