29 January 2013

Mozambique: Uncontrolled Urbanisation Exacerbates Disasters

Maputo — A senior member of Mozambique’s ruling party Frelimo on Monday lamented that the disorderly occupation of urban and suburban spaces is aggravating flooding that cyclically hits some cities.

Speaking to the press after visiting the site of flooding in the southern city of Matola, Teodato Hunguana, a member of the Central Committee of Frelimo, who has held senior government positions in the past, including Minister of Information and Minister of Labour, pointed out that local authorities have given tacit approval to the subdivision or illegal use of land in high risk areas.

He said that in Matola he saw warehouses, situated between the cargo terminal and the company CMC, that were built on land reserved for the run-off of rainwater. These warehouses impeded the rapid draining of water, which led to the flooding of residential houses. Hunguana argued that these homes had never previously been flooded.

He added that in some cases problems arose because of a lack of authority exercised by the governing institutions with people defying orders and building on unsuitable land.

Hunguana was speaking during a ceremony to hand over donations from Frelimo to flood victims in the city.

Looking visibly shocked, he warned that “in Matola we are creating the conditions that will aggravate these calamities. This is uncontrolled urbanisation”.

Hunguana, who is a resident of Matola, urged party activists to tackle these issues to ensure the well-being of the population.

He stressed that “we have to educate the population to leave high risk areas.

But, above all, we must make use of institutional power to maintain discipline”.

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