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March 19, 2013

Mozambicans Try to Return Home After Floods

by Kim Lewis

The international humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders  (MSF) continues to provide medical assistance to over 150,000 people in Mozambique. They were displaced by heavy rains and flooding which began in early January, and spread into eight districts of Gaza province.

Doctors without Borders said the most affected districts were Chokwe and Guija, with 45 deaths reported from Gaza.  Over 175,000 people are affected, with around 81,000 still remaining in accommodation centers through the first week of March.

As people make their way back home they are finding themselves in poor living conditions.  There is little access to clean water and sanitation, and the risk of diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea is increasing.

Reveka Papadopoulou, head of mission for MSF in Maputo, says many people are now finding that their homes have been destroyed.

"Life is coming back to normal, but for most of these people, their house has been destroyed.  Last week, the government of Mozambique lifted the institutional red alert.  But for us this doesn’t mean we still don’t have humanitarian needs that require our attention," explained Papadopoulou.

She said at the moment there are no disease outbreaks, but there is on-going and acute malnutrition.  There’s also the challenge of getting normal health services up and running again.  Most of the medical staff at this time are providing consultations in tents.