MAPUTO, The Mozambican government announced has declared an end to the red alert which was declared in April last year in response to the severe drought in the southern and central provinces of the country linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon.

The red alert, the highest state of emergency readiness, was initially declared for 90 days but was then extended to March 2017 by the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), since by the end of the first 90 days, it had not been possible to obtain the 204 million US dollars funding to provide assistance to those affected.

“We will monitor the situation of food insecurity and evaluate the result of the planting season which ends in March 2017. The combination of these two components will guide whether or not we stay on alert,” explained INGC director-general JoAPound o Machatine last November.

At its weekly meeting on Tuesday, the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), decided to downgrade the state of alert from red to orange, following the rains of this year, which have allowed a recovery in many of the previously drought affected regions.

An orange alert is still regarded as necessary, said the government spokesperson, Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide, since monitoring of the situation will continue “bearing in mind that there are still some foci of concern”.

He stressed that currently enough food is available for the people recovering from the 2016 drought. As for this year’s stormy weather in the north of the country, Saide said that last week heavy rains hit Nampula province, particularly Mozambique Island and Erati districts. Three people were killed in the storms, and 49 homes were destroyed.