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Thousands in Camps in Mozambique Following Floods

In Mozambique, thousands of people who’ve lost their homes due to flooding are finding temporary shelter in camps set up by humanitarian agencies. The floods are said to be the worst to hit the country since those of 2000 and 2001.

VOA correspondent Scott Bobb is in central Mozambique. Earlier Tuesday from the town of Caia, he spoke with VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about relief efforts.

“Today we visited a camp in Chupanga, which is about 100 to 200 kilometers up the Zambezi River from the coast, but downriver from Caia. The largest camp of all 80 plus camps is located there with over 8,000 displaced people living in tents, makeshift shelters and being held by the local population, but also by a sizeable international presence and the Mozambican government’s disaster relief agency.

“The operations are fairly smooth, if they can be called that. They’ve set up three very large tents to serve as classrooms for the children. And they have about 700 or 800 children enrolled. And of course with a population of 8,000 there are many more kids who are not in school. They’re struggling to give them clothes. There are food distributions. The sanitation system has been set up, basically latrines. And the health unit is operational. I spoke with the main doctor there, who said they have enough medicines and so forth.

“But what is sort of impressive is just how overwhelming this operation has to be to deal with so many people. And then the fact that these people came mostly from islands in the river and probably had the least access of any to social services. Some of these people have not seen a doctor at all. There are mothers at the clinic, who didn’t know their baby’s date of birth. Did not have a vaccination card for them. And had basically never accessed the health system. So they’re doing a lot of very basic vaccinations and of course treating for some of the common diseases here, namely malaria, bronchitis and quite a few cases of diarrhea, though no cholera as yet,” reports Bobb.

Helicopters are delivering much of the aid because with the waters receding, many boats are getting stuck in the mud. (English to Africa 2/27)