Mozambique: PM Visits Drought Stricken Areas

Maputo – There must be an urgent response to the drought in Maputo province in order to relieve the suffering of the population, particularly those now suffering from shortage of water and food, declared Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario on Thursday.

Visiting Moamba, one of the worst hIt districts, Rosario said “the province does not have sufficient resources”. There needed to be coordinated work with local state bodies in order to reduce the impact of the drought.

Rosario said the government has instructed the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), the national relief agency, to intervene. He announced that the government is immediately making available 25 million meticiais (about 526,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates) for the opening of multiuse boreholes, and a further 17 million meticais “to seek solutions for food assistance”.

Not all was lost – Rosario notes there are some pockets that have retained humidity, and where some grin and vegetables can still be produced. It was also possible to buy food from other parts of the country where there are surpluses. “These are the scenarios and we have to live with them, while we seek medium and long term ways out”, said the Prime Minister, cited in Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.

The government’s estimates are that 166,000 people are in need of food aid, largely as a result of the drought in the centre and south of the country.

This figure may well need to be revised upwards. According to the report given by the Maputo provincial government to Rosario, over 102,000 people are at risk of food insecurity in this province alone. The provincial government said that 31,750 people are in need of urgent food aid.

Rosario has now travelled on to Gaza province where he will also discuss responses to the drought with local officials.