Supporting Residents is Crucial to Restoring Livelihoods and Social Infrastructure in Mozambique
Life seems to be returning to normalcy in the flood-hit town of Chókwè. Electricity and water have been restored and the community is cleaning up in the aftermath of the worst floods in 13 years.
Despite these recovery efforts, Chókwè residents are still faced with the reality of dwindling food stocks, disease outbreaks, and the cost of rebuilding destroyed social and economic infrastructure.
Marauding Waters Haunt Residents
Resulting from a massive surge down the Limpopo River, the floods have left a trail of destruction that has destroyed vast fields of maize, beans and rice as well as livestock, which most local women depend on for their livelihood.
Chókwè is mainly populated by women and children as many husbands have gone to South Africa in search of work.
From education to health, the impact of the marauding waters will continue to haunt the residents for some time to come, although signs that the waters are receding have raised hopes that all will be well soon.
Walking into a primary school located just a few meters from Chókwè town paints images of the agony that underlies the flood events. Pupils rummage through heaps of soiled torn papers that used to be their library books just a month ago–perhaps searching for any reading material that they can salvage.
Across the school compound, desks have been scattered in the hope that the rain will soon subside, and the sun will dry them allowing pupils to be able to read and write comfortably again.
Twelve-year-old Jeremy Muluki used to spend most of the afternoons in the library after his morning class but this is no longer possible.
“I love reading. It makes me sad that I don’t have anything to read anymore, not in school or at home. Everything has been washed away. I hope life will go back to normal soon and we can have our library back,” says Jeremy.
Like Jeremy, many other children cannot continue to access education facilities as expected. Teresa Ernesto Manhique, the director of the school, says most pupils cannot attend school because they are living in the makeshift camps with their parents.
Only a few pupils have returned to school, two weeks after the floods, she says. “The pupils have to sit on the floor which is still damp, as they have nowhere else to sit. Most of them still don’t have enough to eat back at home, therefore even concentrating becomes a challenge,” she adds.
A Difficult Struggle Ahead
Now that the flood waters have receded, a few people have returned to their villages to begin the task of cleaning up and trying to restore their homes. On their rooftops, personal items, rescued from the flood waters, have been added for safe-keeping or in hopes that the sun would dry them out.
Oblivious of the tough struggle to return to a normal way of life, children play happily in the village. Others attend school and hope that their libraries would be restocked soon.
Men can be seen sitting together enjoying an evening drink and exchanging stories of the hard task ahead–that of rebuilding their lives, their villages, farms and livelihoods.
But, these people need help in order to build resilience. If the mighty Limpopo River should ever flex its muscle again, villages would like to be able to bounce back in a shorter time and with fewer, if any, losses.
What is Plan Doing?
In the weeks following the floods, Plan has made the commitment to deliver 10,000 learning kits to students in the Chókwè district of Gaza province.
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