February 28, 2000
volume 11, no. 41
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

Pope Launches Solidarity Campaign for Devastated Country

    MAPUTO/CAIRO, FEB 25 (ZENIT).- Two weeks of rain and cyclone "Eline" have put an end to years of effort for Mozambique's progress. The country, which was already in difficulty after 2 years of war, has come to a sudden standstill, to the detriment of numerous micro development projects being carried out by several organizations. At present, 800,000 people are in danger of epidemic; and 600,000 are homeless, having escaped from certain death, carrying a minimum of clothing on their backs. At least 70 persons died as a result of the cyclone, according to the U.N. "Cholera, meningitis and malaria are the most immediate risks, and some are already dying from these ailments," UNICEF executive director Carol Bellamy said, on her return from Mozambique.

    From Cairo, John Paul II offered prayers for Mozambique and appealed to the international community to give "effective" signs of solidarity.

    Vast areas of the country are submerged and can only be reached by helicopter. A good part of the southern province of Gaza, and the central province of Inhambane, are inaccessible by land. South African radio reported that special teams have arrived from the United States. The World Health Organization has warned about the risk of epidemics, particularly cholera and malaria, caused by stagnant water. French and South African humanitarian agencies are collaborating by air.

    The U.N. has made an appeal to collect $14 million to be distributed to 8 humanitarian agencies working in the area, managing food, health, water, hygiene, education, communications, and coordination. Since last Wednesday, some 500 persons are being treated for malaria in the Manhica hospital north of the capital, Maputo. Even before the floods, malaria was the principal cause of mortality in Mozambique. The Foreign Minister said that extensive areas of agricultural production have been destroyed. The government has requested $65 million from the international community for emergency aid.

    According to Fr. Antonio Rusconi, director of Radio Maria in Mozambique, "the hospitals are full because of malaria. For example, the hospital next door to our center has not a single place left. The risk of cholera is greater outside the capital because the water isn't good." Given the situation, the Catholic Church has opened its places of worship so that the homeless can be sheltered. ZE00022502


February 28, 2000
volume 11, no. 41

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