More helicopters fly in to assist Mozambique
Maputo - Four helicopters and four fixed-wing aircraft of the South African Air Force (SAAF) on Saturday took to the air to speed up rescue operations in Mozambique's flood-stricken areas, a spokesoperson for the German Red Cross said.
An 83-member task force, consisting of members of the SAAF, the South African Navy and Military Health Service, arrived in Mozambique on Friday to provide assistance and humanitarian support.
The South African air crews on Friday undertook reconnaissance flights over the flooded areas and said they would start their operations on Saturday.
So far, one SAAF helicopter, one from Britain and two from Mozambique were used to transport relief supplies and relocate people from flooded areas.
Another four Bell helicopters, sponsored by Telkom and Transnet at a cost of just under $20 000 (about R160 000) a day, were expected in the country.
Silvano Langa, head of the National Disaster Management Instiute (INGC) told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa that Marromeu, Chinde and Luabo at the mouth of the rising Zambezi river were the most vulnerable areas.
"All rescue operations will be concentrated on these areas," Langa said.
The defensive dyke at Luabo town had been strengthen with an extra 1 000 sandbags because floodwaters continued to swell and were already spilling across the flat plains near its delta.
According to Langa, the areas of Marromeu, Chinde and Luabo were the scene of the worst disasters in the 1978 floods.
"It happened during the first and second weeks of March of that year, and we are worried that the same could happen this year," he said.
About 100 000 people have to be evacuated from dangerous areas, most of them in the Marromeu, Chinde and Luabo areas, he said. - Sapa-DPA
Published on the Web by IOL on 2001-03-03 12:31:02
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