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CNN Today

Mozambique Asks for Help as a Country Lies Battered

Aired February 24, 2000 - 2:22 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: More relief aid is on the way to the flood-ravaged African nations of Mozambique and Botswana. Nearly $1 million is earmarked by the European Commission to help the hundreds of thousands left homeless in those regions.

CNN's Cindy Strand has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CINDY STRAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A battered country, a battered people. Mozambiquan relief officials say they are still desperate for help in transporting food and supplies to those trapped by floodwaters. They have issued an urgent appeal for aid in rebuilding roads, bridges and rail lines.

GEORGIA SHAVER, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Clearly, there's major, major damage and destruction on not only the national road but also the secondary and the tertiary roads. It is very imperative that assistance is brought in to ensure that those roads are put back together as quickly as possible. Half of this country is currently cut off from the other half.

STRAND: For most of the 2,000 people sheltering near this displacement center, all they have is what they're wearing. At night, many sleep on reed mats in the sand.

They are receiving a lesson in hygiene, how to cook their food, how to avoid cholera.

The number of malaria cases is on the rise. Health workers search for those most in need of treatment. Children, weak from lack of proper food, have little resistance. Though some floodwaters have subsided, local officials are telling people not to return to their land, not to rebuild their homes.

The government plans to give a small piece of land to each family in safer areas. This official says the government doesn't want people facing the same danger after the next flood.

Fernando Jose Macamo (ph) escaped the floods with his wife and five of his children. He says he will go back to cultivate his land but never wants to live there again.

(on camera): In 1992, after 16 years of civil war, Mozambique was rated as one of the poorest countries in the world. In recent years, they've been making an economic recovery. The country was beginning to stand on its own. Now nature has brought Mozambique to its knees once again.

Cindy Strand, CNN, in the Third of February Village, Mozambique.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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