XAI-XAI, Mozambique: As Mozambique struggles to recover from the worst flooding in more than a decade, aid agencies are pioneering the use of mobile phones to distribute aid and, they hope, cut the cost of logistics in disaster zones.
Mozambican flood refugee Rose Makavela’s cell phone beeps, and a text message confirms she can get a free bottle of chlorine at a roadside stall near her refugee camp to prevent cholera.
Just one drop of chlorine purifies water for drinking, killing the cholera bacteria and other water-borne diseases.
The mobile initiative is the latest ‘e-health’ tactic to get aid to flood victims in the southern African nation, hit by the worst deluge in over a decade.
Mobile phones have been used during humanitarian crises such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to track and co-ordinate relief efforts.
The heaviest floods since 2000 have killed more than 100 people and affected around 250,000, washing away roads, hospitals and houses in the south.