Mozambique News Agency
Maputo, 21 Jan (AIM) - All of Mozambique's foreign cooperation partners are in agreement with the government's assessment that at the moment an international emergency appeal is not required to deal with the flooding in the central provinces, according to the Minister of State Administration, Lucas Chomera.
On Monday morning, Chomera chaired a meeting with donors, UN agencies and other cooperation partners to discuss the current situation on the flooded river valleys. Flanked by representatives of the United Nations and the European Union, Chomera told a press conference immediately after the meeting that the donors had already agreed to fund the government's contingency plan for disasters (drawn up in October), and did not believe an appeal would be necessary unless the needs proved greater than those envisaged under the contingency plan.
This firm position leaves the Catholic Archbishop of Beira, Jaime Goncalves, as the only significant voice inside the country calling for an international emergency appeal.
Chomera said that, assuming the situation does not deteriorate, $43 million is needed to cover the rescue operations, the immediate humanitarian needs, and resettlement (including seeds and other agricultural inputs to allow peasant farmers to replant).
Of this sum, $8 million is currently available - three million from the Mozambican state budget, and five million from donors. The United Nations has pledged to mobilise a further $12 million. Chomera was confident that the remaining $23 million would also be raised, and so far there is no sign that anything beyond the contingency plan is required.
Mozambique's foreign partners, Chomera said, had praised the government for its rescue operations, and pledged to carry on working, under government coordination, to ensure the success of the humanitarian aid and resettlement programmes.
To date, 75,950 people have been evacuated from dangerous areas to resettlement centres, said Chomera. The great majority (66.276) have been rescued from the Zambezi valley, and much smaller numbers from the valleys of the Pungue, Buzi and Save rivers.
The search and rescue operations are continuing and officials of CENOE (National Emergency Operations Centre) estimate that there are still 5,000 families to be evacuated from vulnerable areas of the Zambezi valley.
The official death toll remains seven - four drowned in the Pungue valley, and three attacked by crocodiles in the same area. An eighth death, that of a fisherman swept away by the Zambezi in Morrumbala district, has yet to be added - he is currently classified as "missing".
The United Nations Resident Representative, Ndolamb Ngokwey, disowned the figure of 50 deaths, attributed in some media to UN sources. "All the staff of the UN in Mozambique use the figure of four deaths by drowning", he said. "We have never given a figure of 50 deaths".
The amount of crops affected by the floods is now given as 57,000 hectares - but this figure needs to be confirmed.
Chomera said the country has enough food for the immediate needs of the people in resettlement centres. But he admitted there is a shortage of tents to accommodate the flood victims. Relief workers are improvising by throwing up temporary shelters covered with plastic as an interim measure.
Ngokwey declared that the UN agencies
and NGOs are "working under government leadership to strengthen disaster
management and to build a bridge to questions of development".
email: Mozambique News Agency
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