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Mozambique Floods Need Accelerated Relief Efforts

United Nations Release

United Nations - As floods continue to sweep across Mozambique, relief efforts must be immediately elevated in order to save hundreds of thousands of lives, the United Nations' World Food Program warned Tuesday.

"This disaster is of epic proportions and we urgently need donor support if we are to expand our operations to meet all those needs," said Jean-Jacques Graisse, Assistant Executive Director and Director of Operations.

According to WFP, over the past five days the hardest hit areas have been engulfed by an additional four to eight meters of water as dams in southern Africa overflowed.

The opening of the spillway gates of the Kariba dam yestrerday will cause further flooding.

"With more water coming the disaster could spread much wider.

Thousands of people are stranded, some on rooftops, in trees, on anything they can cling to." Mr. Graisse said.

Many areas have become completely inaccessible by road, and WFP has been using a South African fleet of seven helicopters and five aircraft to distribute food to more than a hundred thousand people.

The helicopters are also being used to pluck what people they can from the water and deposit them on higher ground.

"The entire population in the affected areas is either in water up to their necks or stranded in treetops," said WFP Logistics Officer Asfaw Ayelign.

"Before we can give them food we have to get them to safety."
WFP has asked donors for an initial $4 million dollars to feed 110,000 people for three months.

A request for a further $2.8 million has been approved for WFP to expand its search and rescue operation.

However, further support will be needed in the future, the UN agency said.

To read more about Mozambique see… http://www.africanews.org/south/mozambique/

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