In the wake of three weeks of flooding that claimed thousands of lives and were the worst in living memory, the people of Mozambique and relief workers are struggling to prevent the aftermath of this natural disaster from being even more devastating than the waters themselves. With almost all of the people who had been stranded in trees and on rooftops by the torrential floodwaters rescued, the country now turns its attention to the problem of dealing with the nearly 250,000 people who are packed into 64 refugee camps. Food, clean water, and medical attention are desperately needed, but relief efforts are hampered by destruction of normal travel routes and by the fact that Mozambique is not equipped to handle massive air traffic into the country. Relief workers fear outbreaks of malaria, cholera, and dysentery as unsanitary conditions in the camps combine with overcrowding and nearby stagnant waters. The floods are particularly galling to a nation that had righted itself after decades of civil war and had been enjoying a period of sustained economic growth and political security. Worse, there are reports of potentially more rain on the way.
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