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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid