One Woman's Story From The Mozambique Floods

Until the floods came, Esperança Gonçalves (34) had been living a quiet life, running her shop and earning enough to feed her family of six in Mocuba, Quelimane province, northern Mozambique.

“We were suddenly submerged by the waters late at night when we were sleeping,” she says. “We had no time to take any of our belongings because the priority was to remove our four children to safety.”

On 12 January, the Council of Ministers of Mozambique declared an institutional red alert for the central and northern parts of the country after heavy rains resulted in severe flooding.

“I was shocked to see all that area flooded and such a big number of families accommodated in difficult conditions,” says WFP Programme Officer Albina Francisco who was deployed to help in Quelimane province. “Each family had a small tent to live in and no food to eat at first. It has been very rewarding to be part of the WFP team helping these people.”

Esperança and her family received assistance from the Government of Mozambique and the humanitarian community soon after the floods hit. Within 48 hours of a government request, WFP positioned food to meet the basic needs of flood-affected people living in accommodation centres which had been set up by the government. WFP moved staff to the affected areas, provided immediate logistics and ICT assistance to the government and partners.

“Since we’ve been here in the accommodation centre, we’ve been getting three meals a day which makes a big difference, especially the children,” says Esperança.

Since 2008, WFP has been playing a key role in strengthening the capacity of the government to mount emergency responses when disasters strike. WFP has been helping strengthen the capacity of the National Disaster Management Institute by improving emergency preparedness and response capacity at provincial and district levels.

WFP is also working with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and other actors to implement food-for-assets – or where market conditions allow – cash-for-assets activities focusing in the central and northern areas of the country, involving the rehabilitation of roads and dykes and the cleaning of irrigation channels damaged by the floods.

Source: General