UN food agency launches appeal for Mozambique relief funds
photo: O País
Mozambique’s President Nyusi addressed the nation on Thursday evening from Beira, capital of Sofala, delivering an update on the damage caused by the Tropical Cyclone Idai in the centre of the country. According to the president, as many as 1.8 million people may have been affected by the natural disaster that destroyed the country’s second largest city and left many Mozambicans homeless.
Of the number mentioned above, 450,000 were already being assisted, the head of state said. But teams on the ground remained vigilant, hoping to rescue still more people, while the main focus of action was providing humanitarian assistance, food and medicine to people already in the shelters.
Nevertheless, in the days following the cyclone, Beira remained cut off, with essential services suspended. In response, President Nyusi pointed out, the government had been able to re-establish the road access to Beira, allowing assistance teams into affected areas and reversing the rise in price of consumer goods; to restore water treatment systems in district villages; and to restore electricity to critical sites in Beira and in all affected villages, with the emphasis on hospitals and socio-economic enterprises.
From now on, the president said, the government intends to ensure the vaccination of 800,000 people against cholera to prevent outbreaks of the disease, and will suspend National Health System fees and guarantee free access to medication in affected areas.
In the education sector, the government will distribute text books and notebooks to students. Victims of Idai will enjoy a discount of 50 percent on energy bills in productive sectors, including economic agents and the trade sector. In agriculture, an initial free distribution of 100,000 utensils and 1,000 tons of various seeds for crops in the affected areas is foreseen, while passengers on all Sena and Machipanda line rail services will receive a 50 percent discount on fares, with free rail transportation of all emergency goods and donations.
The government also promised to accelerate the rehabilitation of water supply systems, energy distribution networks, health centres, schools and access roads, allowing life to quickly return to normal.
President Nyusi congratulated commercial banks for expressing willingness to help their clients keep businesses afloat, and thanked everyone who had joined the solidarity movement, whether national and foreign.
Cyclone Idai having not affected Mozambique alone, the president expressed his solidarity with the governments of Malawi and Zimbabwe.
By Dália LangaSource: O País