Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


The BBC's Clive Myrie
"Desperate people in a desperate situation"
 real 28k

Martin Turner reports from Maputo
"The scale of the task facing aid workers is immense"
 real 28k

Sunday, 27 February, 2000, 18:41 GMT
Mozambican flood victims beg for food

Families stranded on the Save River await rescue
Military helicopters have struggled through Sunday to reach thousands of people trapped by rising flood waters in Mozambique.

By early afternoon, five South African Air Force helicopters had rescued more than 1,000 people who were stranded in the Chokwe district near the Limpopo river. Many more people remain marooned.

Pilots say some people have been trapped in trees for days without food or water.

When the helicopters fly above them, people can be seen waving frantically motioning to their mouths and stomachs with their hands to show that they are hungry.

More than 13,000 people have already been driven from their homes in the Chokwe area and there were fears that 23,000 people could be on the move on Sunday in the search for higher ground in the nearby Macia region.


Survivors clung to whatever they could
Ian Macleod of UN agency Unicef said many of the people who were stranded in the Chokwe district had previously been evacuated from other flooded areas.

Water levels had risen by as much as 1.5 metres (5 feet) during Sunday morning, and flood waters were expected to continue rising following heavy rains upstream in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Click here for map

The South African helicopters have been flying almost daily for three weeks to help Mozambique cope with the worst flooding in 50 years.

Airlifts of emergency supplies to Mozambicans made homeless by the floods have had to be suspended so that the exhausted helicopter crews can carry out the rescue missions instead.

South Africa has spent more than $3m operating the five helicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft in Mozambique since the flooding began.


There's massive destruction along the Save River. There are people stranded in trees and on homes. A lot of people are getting killed

David Schaad, WFP
There had been fears that the aid budget would soon run out. But the UK's development ministry on Sunday pledged an extra $1m, which will allow the South African rescue contract to be extended by about 10 days.

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Director Inyene Udoyen said Malawi was expected to send two helicopters to the central Save region on Sunday; it is hoped the United States will step in following a survey by disaster assessors on Saturday.

The Save River, like the Limpopo, is continuing to rise, sweeping away everything in its path. Unicef's Ian Macleod said between 5,000 and 10,000 people were stranded in the Save river valley and with just one helicopter in the area, it would take more than a week to rescue them.

Testing a child for Malaria
There are growing worries about malaria and cholera
"We're trying to get already cooked foodstuffs to them because it's going to be too long before they can be rescued, he said.

Aid workers have also warned that other rivers may flood and that the risk of disease is increasing.

As well as helping those in immediate danger, already stretched aid workers face the task of helping the estimated 200,000 Mozambicans who have lost their homes.

At least 200 people are known to have died in the flooding across southern Africa.


Click here to return

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Africa Contents

Country profiles
See also:

25 Feb 00 |  Africa
A sad journey back home
24 Feb 00 |  Africa
Machel backs Mozambique appeal
Links to top Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories