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When severe flooding of the Zambezi River left more than 100,000 people displaced from their homes earlier this year, AmeriCares teamed up with International Relief & Development (IRD) on an emergency response effort to deliver relief to the affected communities in Mozambique. AmeriCares Emergency Response Manager Jonathan Hodgdon has recently returned from a site visit to the country with this report.
“After flying two hours, driving another six and then traveling down the Zambezi by boat for two additional hours, we reached the flood-affected villages of Chinde District,” says Hodgdon. “We still had six kilometers to go down a muddy path to reach the displaced camps. Fortunately we were able to hitch a ride via tractor!”
Hodgdon was in the country to evaluate the work being done and to determine what additional support AmeriCares can provide in the future.
“Several months ago, in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, the sanitation situation had completely deteriorated and it was at that point that the IRD had appealed to us for support,” says Hodgdon. “We partnered with the IRD by providing a $200,000 grant that enabled local relief workers on the ground to act immediately, by purchasing water sanitation and hygiene supplies as well as a low-draft power boat to efficiently deliver the aid to those in the stricken communities, helping roughly 25,000 people.
“I found incredible work being done by IRD in many villages, with the AmeriCares grant supporting the implementation of new wells and pumps to provide long-term access to clean water,” says Hodgdon. “It was also apparent to me that the purchase of the boat was a critical element in the overall relief program. Without the boat, the IRD would not have been able to deliver the critically needed relief supplies.”
Hodgdon also reports that the boat has taken on a secondary use, serving as a “marine ambulance” to help move patients suffering with malaria to treatment sites. Work is already underway by IRD to support the longer term needs of rehabilitating the devastated community, with resettlement into permanent homes a top priority.
To see a slideshow of the relief efforts in Mozambique, click here.