Despite an excellent harvest of rice in the fields, Joana Latila and her husband, who support four grandchildren, found themselves without immediate access to food.
Their fields became inundated with rain in late January and Joana fears that her grandchildren will suffer from hunger in coming months.
“We don’t really know how badly the rice has been affected", she says. "My husband thinks that if the water leaves the field within a week the rice will survive but I am not so sure”.
Initial assessments indicate that Joana will be able to rescue the crops which are close to the road but her three fields in the Nkita locality, where three feet of water have engulfed the productive areas, are probably destroyed. Unfortunately, the water also prevents Joana from visiting her brother in the next village. He often provides Joana’s four grandchildren with vegetables from his kitchen garden.
In support of the Government’s response to the disaster, WFP and FAO, led by the National Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Security, is carrying out a needs assessment in Zambezia province in February to guage how many people are experiencing similar situations to that of Joana. WFP is distributing food assistance to the residents of Maganja da Costa district where Joana lives to ensure short-term food security while long-term solutions are pursued.
“The maize which we just received from WFP will last us at least a month", she says. "Luckily, our house was not damaged so we have somewhere dry to store it. The children like maize because they eat it at school. To be honest, I think they're a bit bored with my rice!"
Through the United Nations Development Framework (2012 – 2015), WFP is working with other UN agencies to help the Government predict and respond effectively to disasters. WFP’s key partner in this work is the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC). INGC staff work together with WFP field monitors to ensure food assistance reaches people in need like Joana and her family.