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Mozambique Relief Agency, World Food Program Aid Flood Victims


In central Mozambique, the waters from the worst floods in six years have crested for now but relief workers are scrambling to support villagers who have lost their homes and crops. Providing food for more than 140,000 people in nearly 90 camps scattered across four provinces is a logistical nightmare. VOA's Scott Bobb visited Mfumo Benguela Camp, in Sofala province, and has this report.

It is food distribution day at Mfumo Benguela -- a camp of several hundred displaced people 30 kilometers north of Caia in central Mozambique.

The people fled here to higher ground after heavy rains along the Zambezi River flooded their villages and destroyed their crops.

Each family gets 15 days of rations consisting of maize flour -- the local staple -- lentil beans, and cooking oil. It is not much, but it allows them to survive.

A Mozambican relief agency is distributing the food. The process is carefully monitored by the government and the World Food Program, which is donating the goods.

The distribution will take most of the morning. At the same time, more displaced people arrive at the camps. The government expects their total number to double before the rains end in a few months. These people have lost everything. They need help until the next harvest six months from now.

The WFP shoulders the task of maintaining the flow of food from its stocks in-country and abroad. The aid goes to thousands of people scattered across the region. Some parts are cut off by the high waters.

Coordinator Peter Rodrigues says his group is doubling the amount of food to be distributed during the next two weeks because of the rising population in the camps.

"The people keep trickling in and the number basically increases on almost a daily basis. And they are so widespread. People are there in four different provinces, all affected by these floods and there are almost 90 different centers," says the World Food Program coordinator.

Rodrigues plans to distribute 1,000 tons of food over the next two weeks. But to achieve that goal, a dozen loads on trucks must go out each day.

In Mfumo Benguela Camp, the distribution goes well. The government wants to avoid such emergencies and resettle these people permanently on higher ground. But some of the displaced say they must return to their ancestral land. Relief officials diplomatically say their goal is just to keep these people fed and alive.

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