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The BBC's Greg Barrow in Maputo
"It's a mercy mission"
 real 28k

Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao
"This will have a tremendous impact on our economy"
 real 28k

The BBC's Clive Myrie in Maputo
"Some 300,000 people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance"
 real 28k

Thursday, 24 February, 2000, 11:12 GMT
Appeal for Mozambique aid

Boy at maleria test
A boy waits for his turn to be tested for malaria

The Mozambique Government and international agencies have launched urgent appeals for help as the country reels in the wake of a cyclone and two weeks of flooding.

The cost of the relief operation has escalated rapidly, and the United Nations now says it needs more than $13m for food, medical supplies and plastic sheeting for people worst affected by the flooding.

A boy unloads aid delivered by the French Air Force A boy unloads aid delivered by the French Air Force
The UN planned to divide the money raised among five agencies, from the World Health Organisation to the World Food Programme.

And the government is asking for $63.5m for aid in rebuilding vital infrastructure destroyed by the flooding.

"The necessities of Mozambique go beyond the mandate of the UN agencies," said Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao.

"The main road of the country has been cut off in two parts. That means that the economy of the country cannot function if this road is not repaired immediately."

The French and South African military have begun distributing food and medical aid to people, and the United States has sent disaster experts to the stricken country.

Heavy rainfall in the rest of Southern Africa is threatening to bring more water into Mozambique, already badly hit by severe flooding and a tropical cyclone.

Large parts of the country remain under water, and reports say the situation is being made worse by the swollen rivers flowing in from neighbouring countries.

A BBC correspondent in the capital, Maputo, says Mozambique has become a flood plain for the whole region.

Desperate straits

Also, strong winds and rain from another tropical storm have begun battering the northern part of Mozambique, following the damage caused by Cyclone Eline.

Eline hit the coast near the city of Beira on Tuesday. Winds of up to 260kph (160mph) knocked out power supplies, tore off corrugated-iron roofs from houses, and uprooted coconut palms and telegraph poles.

Some 300,000 people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. At least 150 people have died since the rains started in January, and more than 800,000 people have been affected.

women Women wade through flood waters
Aid workers say the devastation is far worse than anything Mozambique suffered during its 16 years of civil war.

Most of the country's farm land is under water, as are many homes. The floods washed away large stretches of road and many bridges.

Cases of cholera, a water-borne disease, are on the rise, while malaria and meningitis also threaten the population.

The UN said families living in the Limpopo Valley had no food and little clean water and that outbreaks of dysentery were rife.

The floods and Cyclone Eline have also affected parts of South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

A Zimbabwean minister said there was an urgent need for tents, food and medicine in the east after villages were left without electricity and homes were destroyed.

Botswana's president has put the country on full alert, for further storms expected to arrive on Thursday or Friday, worsening flooding in the country still struggling to come to grips with heavy rains last week.

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See also:
23 Feb 00 |  Africa
Mozambique: Worst still to come
22 Feb 00 |  Africa
Fears rise for homeless villagers
11 Feb 00 |  Africa
Africa's flood misery
21 Feb 00 |  Africa
Mozambique's floods: In pictures

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