Attorney-General briefs Parliament on "hidden debts" - AIM report
Photo: O País
Some schools and public and private institutions are now housing victims of Cyclone Idai, which has hit displaced thousands of people in the central part of the country, and particularly the city of Beira, in recent days.
Ndunda and Agostinho Neto primary schools, the latter in the centre of the city, are now accommodating affected families from the Ponta-Gêa, Maquinino and Praia Nova neighbourhoods. The Pavilhão dos Desportos (Sports Pavilion) is another government-owned establishment that is once again sheltering families who have lost their homes.
The 24 de Julho Hospital, which has just been rehabilitated, is now home to hundreds of families who had the opportunity yesterday to exchange views with President Nyusi, who they told that they had lost everything.
Up until yesterday morning, when the head of state visited the city of Beira, the death toll in the cities of Beira and Dondo had reached 68. Other preliminary figures indicate that at least 117,000 people were affected in the city of Beira, where incalculable damage to infrastructure was recorded.
Three days after the city was hit by the cyclone, the situation in Beira remained serious, with intermittent rain preventing people returning to normal life. People are forming long queues in shops to buy water, food and other commodities, and likewise fuel, with many gas stations applying restrictions because of scarcity.
FADM and South African army soldiers have been helping the cean up in the city since Sunday, while Mozambique Electricity is busy replacing poles uprooted by the gales.
Speaking to reporters at Beira International Airport just moments after visiting Cyclone Idai victims at the Central Hospital, the head of state said that at present the priority was to preserve human lives and provide basic conditions for people.
“We are worried about people’s lives. It is true that people understand what happened, but this is not enough because they have nowhere to stay and are in need of the most basic things like food, drinking water and medicine. On medicines, their replacement in the province can happen within one week, but we will have to improvise because the whole city is destroyed,” the president explained.
“Let’s make a survey, and then we will understand what needs to be done first. The problem is serious, it requires a collective effort to gradually replace the destroyed infrastructure, such as drinking water, energy and communication,” the president said, adding that, during his short visit to the city, the lack of communications had meant he had been unable to talk to the mayor, Daviz Simango.
Without losing hope
Speaking in the emergency reception centre at Hospital 24 de Julho, the president asked victims of the cyclone not to give up hope.
“We have seen that everything is destroyed, but what we cannot do lose hope. Let’s try to keep focused. We know we have a food problem and we need to increase [supply]. We have to be strong for all of us to win,” he said, asking people to remain calm and not agitate. “Do not agitate: doctors have arrived and food and water will be provided,” Nyusi said.
The city of Beira is isolated from the rest of the country because National Highway EN6, which connects Beira to the hinterland, is cut. According to sources in the Provincial Directorate of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, the collapse of the bridge over the Munhinga river means the Mutua-Tica section is impassable.
President Nyusi said aid could be flown in once air traffic in this part of the province was once again authorised, but that it was urgent to re-establish circulation on the road connecting the provincial capital of Sofala to the rest of the Mozambique and neighbouring countries.
Today @WFP started distributing food to people affected by #CycloneIdai in Beira #Mozambique.
Here we are at a school which is now a shelter for 70 families whose homes have been destroyed. #Savinglives pic.twitter.com/pzviaHLaYT
— WFP_Africa (@WFP_Africa) March 18, 2019