Mozambique: Drought Affecting 76,000 in Inhambane

Maputo – About 76,000 people are affected by drought in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, according to government spokesperson, Deputy Education Minister Armindo Ngunga.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), Ngunga said that, during the visit to Inhambane by Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, “it was noted that Mabote, Govuro, Funhalouro and Panda are the districts most affected by drought. 17,660 hectares of crops have been lost and 44 head of cattle have died”.

Government measures to mitigate the situation, he added, included the distribution of food aid to 10,500 households, the holding of agricultural fairs, the construction of 15 new water sources, and the rehabilitation of 105 existing ones.

The Counil of Minister also discussed the inquiry into the mass failure rates in the 2015 final exams in the 10th and 12th grades of the country’s secondary schools.

Ngunga said that blame for the miserable results was shared among pupils, teachers and the conditions of the schools.

Attendance at classes was poor among pupils – but also among teachers. It has been known for years that poorly-paid teachers often abandon their classes, in order to do other jobs, and a spotlight is now being shone on this problem.

Pupils had shown little interest in their studies, said Ngunga, but had also faced genuine difficulties in assimilating the materials in some subjects.

Teachers, he added, had shown poor commitment and lack of motivation. They had not fully complied with the syllabus they were supposed to teach, and in some instances there were signs of corruption.

Ngunga admitted that conditions for learning in schools were often poor, with a lack of properly equipped libraries and laboratories.

The meeting also approved decrees scrapping the Environment Fund (FUNAB) and replacing it with a National Sustainable Development Fund (FNDS) which is intended to promote and finance progrannes which guarantee “sustainable, harmonious and inclusive development”.

The Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, told reporters that the FNDS would be aimed particularly aimed at projects in the countryside. “This is a fund of a different type”, he said, “and with an autonomy to face the challenges and inequalities confronting the country”.

Asked about reports that gunmen of the rebel movement Renamo are indiscriminately killing animals in the Gorongosa National Park, in Sofala province, Correia said such attacks on “the patrimony of the people” had to be stopped.

“We condemn this and we hope to have adequate responses as soon as possible”, he said. The Gorongosa park, once one of the finest in southern Africa, was devastated during Renamo’s war of destabilization in the 1980s. Since the end of the war, in 1992, it has been gradually recovering, thanks to persistent efforts by the Mozambican wildlife authorities and their international partners.

Source: All Africa