Floods bring cholera, isolation and landmines

Continual rainfall in southern Africa has brought greater flooding to the region. The damage from the storms so far has been devastating. In addition to the flooding, the first case of cholera in Maputo has been confirmed. The rains have also brought an unanticipated extra danger.

The rains have increased the danger of dislodging landmines, a
legacy of the 16-year civil war that ended in 1992. The flood waters have softened the earth and then landmines are more likely to be washed free and brought closer to the surface, increasing the danger to the population once the water recedes.

After two weeks of steady rain, an estimated 220,000 Mozambicans have lost homes that have been washed away by flooding. The tropical depression Eline is expected to slam the central coast of Mozambique. Officials worry that the heavy rain and winds of up to 55 km/h could impede efforts to get help to stranded residents.

Today (Monday 21 February) the United Nations is expected to launch an
interagency appeal for Mozambique.

South Africa officials have warned that the Limpopo and Incomati Rivers will
continue to rise. Thousand of people are still isolated on artificial
island along the Limpopo river and airlifts by helicopters to rescue
these people are continuing. But their are logistical limitations and food
aid will be needed urgently for the next three months, according to
local officials.

MSF received an earmarked financing of $250,000 from the Luxembourg
Government for emergency aid. Futhermore MSF is looking for
financing of the necessary helicopter airlifts to help distributing
the high-energy food, shelter materials, collapsible tanks for safe
water and medecine.