Mozambique 2000

International Information

International Operation Name: Mozambique 2000

International Mission Name: Mozambique 2000

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: Africa

Location: Mozambique

Mission/Operation Notes: On 9 February 2000, heavy rains started in southern Mozambique and northern South Africa. Mozambique bore the full brunt of the storm, with tens of thousands having to flee their homes in the capital, Maputo. Thousands more were left homeless in Gaza province, in the middle of the country. To make matters worse, as the storm moved west, it brought Botswana 75 percent of its normal rainfall in three days. Most of Botswana drains eastward, through Mozambique, raising the water levels there even more. The Limpopo River burst its banks. The lack of fresh water generated dysentery outbreaks in parts of Mozambique. The United Nations recognized that there was a potential crisis.

While the rains eased off and appeared to bring some respite, worse was to come. On 22 February, Cyclone Elise hit Mozambique near the centre of the country, just north of the area already hit by flooding. Over the next week, the heavy rainfall from the cyclone created massive flooding in most of the country, with the water having risen four to eight metres in some areas. Aid agencies estimated that over 100,000 people needed to be evacuated, while many more were in urgent need of aid. But the rain kept falling, and did not stop until mid-March.

International aid was available from the outset, the priority being to move people to higher ground and feed them there, but the scale of the disaster was simply too great for the agencies already in situ to deal with.

Canadian Forces (CF) Information (Mozambique 2000)

Mission Date: 7 March 2000 - 11 March 2000

Mission Mandate: To deliver humanitarian effort for flood victims in Mozambique

CF Mission/Operation Notes: In Canada, the government announced $11.6 million in aid, of which $10 million was for longer-term relief and reconstruction. The Canadian Red Cross launched an appeal to the public. The Canadian Forces had been producing updated maps based on RADARSAT images for use by aid agencies and government organizations. The production of the maps had been started in mid-February and detailed the extent of the flooding.

These maps were of value to the three Canadian Forces personnel who were in Mozambique. They had deployed in April 1999 to provide assistance to the UN Accelerated De-Mining Program. That work was temporarily suspended because of the flooding. They now concentrated on assisting the UN aid efforts and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) representative in Maputo.

On 7 March, the Minister of National Defence approved a request from CIDA for two CC-150 Airbus flights to transport aid to Mozambique. On 10 March, the two aircraft departed 8 Wing Trenton with 20,000 kilograms of supplies each. They arrived in Maputo the next day.

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