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Drowning Nation Needs Help

Mozambique is drowning. Massive flooding has left thousands of people perched on rooftops and in trees awaiting rescue. Helicopters from South Africa have plucked many children from nearly certain death. But more helicopters and watercraft are desperately needed. A second huge storm is predicted. Much more help will be necessary in the days and weeks ahead.

The worst rains in memory have flooded low-lying regions along the Limpopo and Save rivers, leaving an area the size of Connecticut under as much as 25 feet of water. More than a million people were driven from their homes.

Of all the crises in Africa, none is more immediate, and the Mozambique government, its resources stretched to the limit, is appealing for help from any quarter. Portugal, the former colonial master, should stand at the head of the relief line.

Tiny Malawi, itself experiencing flooding, sent two of its three helicopters to Mozambique. But more helicopters are required. Zimbabwe should retrieve 14 helicopters it sent to fight an unending war in Congo. Saving lives, not taking them, is the paramount need now. The United States too has sent rescue helicopters and will deploy soldiers to deliver emergency supplies.

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The West has held out Mozambique as a model of African democracy and hailed the country’s brave, decade-long effort to resuscitate its economy. In this crisis it needs food, medicines, fresh water, tents and money to rebuild. The West helped revive flooded Central American countries last year. Surely it should do the same in this crisis.

To help, call the American Red Cross International Response Fund, (800) HELP NOW.


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