WFP to feed Jokwe stricken

The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) will provide emergency food aid for 60,000 people affected by cyclone Jokwe in Mozambique's northern regions.

Bonifácio Antonio, director of the relief coordination department of the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), said at least 13,000 houses were destroyed by the cyclone in the northern provinces of Nampula and Zambezia. "We are still doing our assessments so the numbers in need might increase," he said.

Tropical cyclone Jokwe killed eight people and also destroyed homes and schools after it made landfall on Mozambique's northern coast on 7-8 March.

WFP will access existing stocks earmarked for other programmes to help the communities affected by cyclone Jokwe, said Peter Keller-Transburg, the spokesman for the food aid agency in Mozambique. "We will need US$550,000 to replenish these stocks as soon as possible."

Mozambique is yet to recover from floods in January 2008 following heavy seasonal rain in its central provinces in December 2007. The floods displaced over 100,000 people, who were moved to government-designated resettlement areas, according to WFP. The red alert warning along the Zambezi River and other rivers in central Mozambique has come to an end, said INGC's Antonio.

However, tens of thousands of displaced families will continue to rely on humanitarian assistance for months to come because they lost their assets, homes and harvests in the floods, WFP said in a press statement. Since emergency relief operations began in January, WFP and its partners have distributed over 3,000 metric tonnes of food in 17 flood-affected districts.

Mozambique was also hit by a drought in the south and floods in central Mozambique in January 2007. "We are still responding to the needs of those affected by the disasters in 2007," said Keller-Transburg.

The food aid agency is currently feeding more than 500,000 people affected by the multiple disasters of 2007 and 2008.

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