Photo: WFP/Deborah Nguyen

World Food Programme Classifies Mozambique as Highest-Level Emergency

Published March 22, 2019

BEIRA: The United Nations World Food Programme on Friday declared the Mozambique flood crisis a Level 3 emergency, putting it among a handful of top response priorities for the organisation, on a par with Yemen, Syria and South Sudan.

The designation will accelerate the massive operational scale-up now underway to assist victims of last week’s Category 4 cyclone and subsequent large-scale flooding that claimed countless lives and displaced at least 600,000 people.

It follows the government’s declaration earlier this week of a national emergency – the country’s first – and request for international assistance. That triggered the activation of global, multi-agency ”clusters” to coordinate relief efforts on food security, logistics and emergency telecommunications (led or co-led by WFP) as well as on water and sanitation.

Satellite imagery shows numerous floodplains, including an “inland ocean” 125 km by 25 km – the size of Luxembourg – where water levels surged as high as 11 metres, submerging almost everything in their path.

An MI-8 transport helicopter contracted by the WFP-run United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) continued to airdrop food – including WFP high-energy biscuits (HEBs) and micronutrient-rich peanut paste used to prevent and treat malnutrition as well as tents, medicines and other essentials for stranded communities outside Beira.

Another 20 metric tons of biscuits airlifted from a WFP-operated UN emergency response depot in Dubai landed in the western city of Chimoio on Friday, and a further planeload is due to arrive in Beira on Saturday.

To date, more than 20,000 people have received WFP food assistance.

Two more UNHAS MI-8s, and two cargo planes with a capacity of 10 and 20 metric tons, are due to join the relief effort in the next few days.

The procurement and dispatch of large quantities of food for the Mozambique crisis continued elsewhere in southern Africa, including cereals, vegetable oil, and fortified blends from South Africa and Zambia.



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The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

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For more information please contact (email address:

Gerald Bourke, WFP/Beira, Mob/whatsapp +27 82 90 81 417

Deborah Nguyen, WFP/Beira, Mob : +258 86 505 6300 / whatsapp +33 652 89 76 44

Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Mob. +39 346 7600521

Francis Mwanza, WFP/London, Tel.  +44 (0)20 3857 7411, Mob. +44 (0)7968 008474

Challiss McDonough, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-653-1149, Mob. +1-202-774-4026

Steve Taravella, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-556-6909, Mob.  +1-202-770-5993