News / Africa

Mozambique Pushing to Resettle Hesitant Flood Victims

Women collect water at the Chaquelane resettlement camp near the flood hit town of Chokwe, in southern Mozambique, February 7, 2013.
Women collect water at the Chaquelane resettlement camp near the flood hit town of Chokwe, in southern Mozambique, February 7, 2013.
Mozambique’s government wants to permanently resettle people living in the flood-prone Limpopo river basin after a devastating flood swept through the area last month. 

Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina is pushing local authorities to be firm with people who want to return home - saying the risk of future floods is too great. The government is offering people plots of land on higher ground if they agree to move.  Close to 100 people died in the floods and more than 200,000 have been affected.

Thelma Zita’s home is just a few hundred meters from the banks of one of Africa’s mightiest rivers - the Limpopo.

In late January the river burst its banks, washing away everything she had. There was not time to escape.

"We just climbed onto roofs," she says. "We did not leave Guija because the water came in at night."

A week later, she gave birth to her daughter. Now, baby strapped to her back, she is cultivating what little land the slowly subsiding flood water relinquishes.

"We are just beginning to plant again," she says.  "In some fields you can’t plant because there is still water and we have to wait."  She notes resignedly that that is the way it goes and life continues.

The fertile valley is the source of much of the rice and vegetables grown in Mozambique.

Baby Rofinho was born on the night floodwaters engulfed his family's home in Guija, southern Mozambique. His mother gave birth on the roof of her house. (Jinty Jackson for VOA)Baby Rofinho was born on the night floodwaters engulfed his family's home in Guija, southern Mozambique. His mother gave birth on the roof of her house. (Jinty Jackson for VOA)
x
Baby Rofinho was born on the night floodwaters engulfed his family's home in Guija, southern Mozambique. His mother gave birth on the roof of her house. (Jinty Jackson for VOA)
Baby Rofinho was born on the night floodwaters engulfed his family's home in Guija, southern Mozambique. His mother gave birth on the roof of her house. (Jinty Jackson for VOA)
A flood alert is still in place, and the end of the rainy season is still two months away. It is risky, but Zita and her neighbors say if they don’t plant, they will go hungry.

"Nothing gets here," she says. Trucks come full of food aid, but she says it is not for them and she does not know where is goes.

Adam Ridell, with a U.S.-based Christian aid agency called Samaritan’s Purse, is helping distribute food to the area. He explains why Zita and her neighbors might not be getting food aid.

“One reason why these people may not have received food is that they are not in these accommodation centers.  We may not know they are around. It is easier if they are there. We bring the food there," he said.

Aerial views shows a road that has been washed away by flood waters in Chokwe, Mozambique, Jan. 30, 2013.Aerial views shows a road that has been washed away by flood waters in Chokwe, Mozambique, Jan. 30, 2013.
x
Aerial views shows a road that has been washed away by flood waters in Chokwe, Mozambique, Jan. 30, 2013.
Aerial views shows a road that has been washed away by flood waters in Chokwe, Mozambique, Jan. 30, 2013.
Custodia Quive is one of the nearly 70,000 people who did escape the rising water. Now she is living in a massive tented camp, run by the government and  international aid agencies.

"Everything went," she says. "I don’t have a house. I don’t have anything. Even my clothes washed away."

Now it is time to contemplate the future. The government is offering land on higher ground near the camp. It is about 29 kilometers away from the town of Chokwe, where she lived and worked before the flood.

“We want this land but we only hear talk." she said.

She says the government hasn’t given it out but she is ready to go to work there - even though it’s far and she will leave her family here.

Few men are to be found at the camp during the day. Many have already returned to the fields, or are protecting their homes and belongings in the flood zones from bandits.

Adam Ridell says the relocation process will be difficult but there seems little alternative.

Children are seen at a camp outside Chokwe, Mozambique, January 24, 2013. (VOA/J.Jackson)Children are seen at a camp outside Chokwe, Mozambique, January 24, 2013. (VOA/J.Jackson)
x
Children are seen at a camp outside Chokwe, Mozambique, January 24, 2013. (VOA/J.Jackson)
Children are seen at a camp outside Chokwe, Mozambique, January 24, 2013. (VOA/J.Jackson)
“How do you relocate 200,000 people? When it floods every five years? They did a great thing with early warning systems and people knew the water was coming," he said. "Levies broke, the water came a lot faster than they thought. A lot of people even prepared for the floods but didn’t prepare enough because they didn’t think it would be that bad. And their houses are made of mud because that is what they have, so of course it is going to get washed way in a flood.”

Experts say Mozambique, home to nine major river systems and prone to seasonal cyclones, is especially vulnerable to climate change, increasing the risk of natural disasters in the future.

The government is considering building at least one other dam on the Limpopo river - but it’s a costly undertaking for what is still one of the world’s poorest countries.

In the meantime, they hope to move enough people to higher ground to minimize the disaster, next time.

You May Like

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs