01 February 2011

Limpopo flood survey

The UK organisation Oxfam had been concerned about the water levels on the lower Limpopo River.
The last few weeks have seen water rise above alert level and indications were that, if it continued, the flooding could be worse than that in 2000. Those floods were so bad they attracted world wide media attention, with one iconic image of a lady being rescued by helicopter after having given birth in a tree.
The only way to really find out how bad the flooding was, was to go and have a close look.
We flew over to Maputo to pick up representatives of various NGO’s . There was a mapping expert from World Food Programe and a climate change expert from CARE. The team leader was from Save The Children as well as a representative from Mozambique’s disaster management organisation INGC.
After a lengthy process of obtaining the necessary military clearance to allow for low level survey work, we set off.
We flew for a total of 350 miles and covered the whole of the Mozambique portion of the river from the border with South Africa to where it enters the Indian Ocean.
We flew from Maputo along the green line.
The upper reaches weren’t that bad but there was certainly a large amount of standing water in the lower portions.
The various aid organisations will now get together and work on a plan based on what we saw. Our helicopter is on standby in case the situation worsens but we are expecting to be asked to conduct another survey flight in a week or two’s time.

Mercy Air team

No comments:

Post a Comment