Mozambique: Roads remain in disrepair

FLOODS, Mozambique, February 2000
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The Independent Online

When floods ravaged Moz-ambique in 2000, donors and rich countries rushed to pledge $400m (£214m) to help rebuild the impoverished southern African country.

When floods ravaged Moz-ambique in 2000, donors and rich countries rushed to pledge $400m (£214m) to help rebuild the impoverished southern African country.

But five years later the scars remain throughout the worst-hit provinces of Mozambique, ranked as one of the 10 poorest countries by the United Nations Development Programme.

Far less than half of the figure promised was delivered, according to Mozambican authorities. Many of the approximately one million people affected by the worst flooding there in 52 years are still struggling to cope.

The week-long rains and floods caused damage of monstrous proportions to a country emerging from 17 years of civil war and which was beginning to rebuild. Authorities said the damage was far worse than that caused by the war.

The floods killed hundreds and displaced hundreds of thousands more. Roads in remote provinces remain in a state of disrepair today. Many Mozambicans whose boreholes were destroyed still have no access to clean water.

The televised images of the devastation showed the magnitude of the crisis, with people scrambling on to tree-tops and roofs hoping to be plucked to safety by helicopters. The footage of a woman giving birth to her child in a treecaptivated international audiences and led to an outpouring of pledges.

But no sooner had the floodwaters receded than the aid dried up, leaving Mozambique, and other countries struck by the floods, mainly Madagascar and Zimbabwe, without the resources to deal with the consequences. A senior official with a relief agency said that EU bureaucracy was such that "the aid didn't arrive until the next floods came in".

The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, said rich countries should ask themselves whether they were doing enough to help Mozambique and Madagascar.

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