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Portugal will continue to support the regions of Mozambique that were affected by cyclones in 2019, its president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said on Thursday upon his arrival in the city of Beira.
He also noted that, in addition to financial support, volunteers are needed to deal with the aftermath of the cyclines.
“Of course, volunteers are needed,” de Sousa said. “We have been with non-governmental organisations in different areas of intervention” and that was what he found, he said, speaking 10 months after the last such cyclone.
The president was spoke with NGO officials at Portugal’s consulate-general in Beira, shortly after landing in the city, on a flight in which he was able to see the difficulties facing the region from the air.
Reconstruction work is underway, with NGOs from Portugal working “mainly in the areas of social action, health and education”, according to de Sousa, who is also to visit the Central Hospital of Beira, which is being rebuilt.
The project is part of one of five submitted by NGOs that last week were chosen to receive €1.9 million from the Mozambique Reconstruction and Development Support Fund set up by Portugal’s government, which brings together contributions from the state, municipal councils, associations, foundations and private companies.
Marcelo is also to meet with the Portuguese community living in the region, which numbers some 2,500, and which includes several businesses that have suffered various losses.
After Cyclone Idai, some asked for financial support and several secured it.
De Sousa had on Wednesday taken part in Maputo in a presentation of two credit lines to support these entrepreneurs, one comprising soft loans totalling €12 million, funded through the Enterprise Fund for Portuguese Cooperation (Fecop), and another overseen by Mozambican banks with €15 million made available by the Sofid a development finance institution owned mainly by the Portuguese state.
Cyclones Idai and Kenneth hit Mozambique in March and April 2019 respectively, killing nearly 700.
It was the first time that Mozambique had been hit by two extreme-category cyclones at the same time as the regular seasonal rains.
Speaking of the view he had as he overflew the affected areas, de Sousa noted that “so long after [the cyclone] there are still houses cut off, there are still inaccessible areas, infrastructure in ruins and difficult to reconstruct.”
But, he added, “the people of Beira are resistant; more than resistance, it is stubbornness in the face of adverse situations.”.
De Sousa on Saturday ends his visit to Mozambique, during which he attended the inauguration of his Mozambican counterpart, Filipe Nyusi, as president, for a second term.Source: Lusa
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