Floods in Mozambique: Preventing Epidemics

Maputo, March 9, 2001 — Recent floods in Mozambique have polluted water sources, raising concerns about the threat of epidemics such as cholera, malaria, and measles.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is focusing on epidemic prevention in provinces severely affected by the floods. The organization is setting up a cholera processing center, organizing the training of health professionals, particularly in the districts of Mutarara and Quelimane, and supporting temporary health stations of the Ministry of Health in Ankuaze, Nhacolo and Caia.

MSF is also providing medical care to populations displaced by the floods in four centers housing more than 1,200 families in Mutarara district. In Chupanga (Sofala province), MSF is providing medical equipment and drinkable water and assisting with evacuation by boat and helicopter.

"The Zambezi has completely flooded, transforming areas of the country into isolated islands," explained Gorik Ooms, MSF's head of mission in Mozambique. "Because of this, segments of the population no longer have access to medical care. It is difficult to specify how many individuals are currently isolated, but it could be 200,000 people."

MSF relief activities are currently underway in the districts of Mutarara (Tete province) and Quelimane (Zambezia province), which have been subjected to severe floods in the last week. Other areas that have been strongly affected include Luabo (Zambezia province), Marromeu (Sofala province) and Chire-river delta (Tete province). In Ankuaze, between 12,000 and 15,000 people are isolated without any access to medical care, drinkable water, or food.

In the coming days, MSF will be supplying additional humanitarian relief supplies, including medicines, tents, and water pumps.