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Portugal’s minister of defence, João Gomes Cravinho, on Wednesday night said that the situation in Mozambique “does not go unnoticed” to Portugal, adding that support will be “as needed” by the Mozambican people following Cyclone Idai.
“There are displays of solidarity from civil society, non-governmental organisations and many ministries,” Cravinho said.
“The National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) will be responsible for screening the material and personnel to go on the second plane.”
Cravinho, along with Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, were present at the departure on Thursday of the Portuguese rapid reaction force consisting of 25 officials from the navy, ten from the army, three from the air forces and two police officers, on a C-130 plane, to support operations in Mozambique.
This team will carry out search and rescue missions, victim support, distribution of medicines and food.
On Thursday another C-130 is expected to depart for Mozambique.
The C-130, with “priority mission of search, rescue and save people in danger, using the waterways”, will have as its first destination Ghana, where it will refuel. From there, the aircraft leaves for São Tomé and Príncipe, where it stops for the military to rest of the military. Afterwards, it finally departs for the city of Beira, where it is due to arrive on Friday, around lunchtime.
Cravinho explained that there are requests for equipment and people to help identify corpses but noted that the first urgency is “rescuing people who are still alive.”
He praised the Portuguese military who departed, remembering the work they had done during the floods that affected the African country in 2000.
The passage of Cyclone Idai through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe has already killed more than 300 people, according to provisional data released by their governments since Monday.
Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, on Tuesday announced that more than 200 people had died and 350,000 “are at risk,” and decreed the state of national emergency.
The country has three days of national mourning until Friday.
With heavy rains and winds of up to 170km/h, the storm reached Beira, the fourth largest city in Mozambique on Thursday night, leaving approximately 500,000 residents without power and communication lines.
The International Red Cross said that at least 400,000 people are displaced in Beira due to the cyclone, calling it the “worst humanitarian crisis in the country.”Source: Lusa