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South African assistance to flood victims

South Africa said on Wednesday that it was sending helicopters and other transport aircraft to Mozambique to assist in the relocation of people trapped by floods.

A joint statement by the South African Department of Foreign Affairs and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said: “Following the assessment made last week by the Special Task Team of the South African National Defence Force, the South African Government today (Wednesday) decided to assist in the location/relocation of people trapped by the flooding of the Govuro river in the Inhambane district of Mozambique.”

People in the Inhambane province have had no access to food and basic health care since flooding began last week.

A spokesperson for the SANDF told IRIN on Thursday that on the first day of the operation about 10.9 mt of food, supplied by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) had been airlifted to people in the affected areas. He added that these airlifts would continue today (Thursday).

He said at this stage there was no need for people to be evacuated, but they were in urgent need of food supplies because most of their crops had been washed away.

The spokesperson said a joint operations centre between the SANDF and the Mozambican government had been established at Vilankulo, about 650 km north east of the capital Maputo.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said that it had been reported that the main road from the town of Beira, about 900 km north east of Maputo, has almost been totally washed away, making movement by road practically impossible.

Earlier this week WFP said that it would urgently airlift emergency food rations to about 70,000 people in the towns of Vilankulo and Inhassorro, two of the worst hit towns in the south of Mozambique.

In recent months Mozambique has been subjected to heavy torrential rains affecting an about 180,000 people and washing away an estimated 50,000 hectares of crops.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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