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Trouble brewing in Mozambique camps

Continuing rain adds to plight of displaced flood victims in overcrowded camps, with the threat of a cholera outbreak.
Last modified: 28 Jan 2013 14:41

After two days of scorching heat, it rained on Monday morning.

Anyone who had hoped the rains in Mozambique had come and gone was wrong - myself included.

I am in Changalane at camp for displaced flood victims. Aid workers say there are 50,000 people here.

There are people everywhere: a few in tents but most sleeping out in the bush.

As soon as it rains, you see some picking up their belongings and look for cover under trees.

Others, the men in particular, do not even move. I think they feel there is not much point. Basically anywhere they move to, they are going to get wet.

Not enough tents

I ask Amelia Cossa from the Mozambican Red Cross why only a few people are in tents.

I get the answer I expected: there are not enough to go around.

I feel sorry for her. She is in her fifties, tired and looks stressed.

Her job is to try and maintain order among chaos. She makes sure people try to keep the camp clean, women and girls do not get raped, people don not steal from each other, etc.

Her main concern now is cholera. The toilets are holes in the ground in the bush, a health hazard if not covered up properly.

If cholera broke out it would be a disaster.

Under control for now

I look around to see if there are any other aid agencies here. The UN has brought in food and other necessities.

It seems for now things are under control. Aid workers may not be in the camp in huge numbers but I have seen their vehicles on the road and the nearby hotels.

But  the local community is starting to complain.

The man causing a lot of commotion is drunk but what he says makes sense.

He starts shouting at the flood victims, telling them to go back where they came from because they will finish the food in the village.

There could be another problem government officials and aid workers will have to soon deal with: an agitated local community not happy about their uninvited guests.