The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has launched an urgent international appeal for US $2.5 million emergency funding to help flood victims in Mozambique. Director general of FAO Jacques Diouf said, "Around US $2.5 million is needed to help Mozambique's farmers get back to farming as quickly as possible so the country will be able to produce enough food to feed its people.'
Flooding in the southern and central provinces of Mozambique has caused tremendous loss to crops and livestock. Preliminary estimates by FAO indicate that over 100,000 planted hectares of land have been destroyed or seriously effected. Mainly destroyed are crops like maize, beans, rice, sweet potatoes, peanuts and vegetables. According to the government, the flood has destroyed the livelihood and shelters of 62,200 farming households.
With over 150,000 people turned homeless and trapped in the flooded areas, international agencies like the Red Cross are faced with the daunting task of warding off epidemics. Scores of people have succumbed to cholera, malaria, diarrhea and other fatal diseases that are spreading rapidly. Diouf points out, "A disaster of this scope would tax the resources of even the most advanced countries. But, in the case of a developing country like Mozambique, the means to cope are just not there.'
Expressing gratitude for international efforts, Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano said aid was slow in arriving and that a lot more was needed.
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