Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza pledged in Maputo on Sunday that the government will continued to mobilize financial and other resources in order to build the infrastructures needed to reduce the impact of floods.
He was speaking at Maputo’s Monument to the Mozambican Heroes, at a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of the founder and first president of Frelimo, Eduardo Mondlane, who was assassinated 44 years ago, on 3 February 1969.
Guebuza told reporters that Mozambique needs to mobilize resources for flood control measures, notably the construction of dams at sites such as Mapai, on the Limpopo, as well as to rehabilitate the existing dams at Massingir and Macarretane. The Massingir dam on the Limpopo’s main tributary, the Elephants River, is seriously damaged, and its bottom outlet structures are not functioning properly: this may have contributed to the severity of the flood surge down the Limpopo in late January. Guebuza added that further dams are needed on rivers in the centre of the country, such as the Pungue and the Buzi.
“Today is the day when we remember those whose work we take pride in, particularly Mondlane”, said Guebuza. “This year we are celebrating the date in the midst of floods which have caused many thousands of Mozambicans to lose loved one and possessions.
So this moment is dedicated to those who have been plunged into suffering”.
This, he added, was a moment for reflection on measures to minimize the effects of natural disasters, at a time when available resources are scarce. Guebuza praised all these who have contributed to the flood relief effort, including government institutions, civil society organizations, and international partners. “With the work undertaken by these forces, we feel that the struggle is waged not only by the government but by all those who are turning solidarity into real facts on the ground”, he declared.
In particular, Guebuza stressed the support given by South Africa, which has provided aircraft to assist in the search and rescue operations. For his part, the Minister of Public Works, Cadmiel Muthemba, said that, although it was too early to give exact figures, the damage done by the floods was “enormous”. Damage had been done to the flood gates and sensors at the Macarretane dam above Chokwe, and dykes needed to be repaired at Chokwe and Xai-Xai
Muthemba told reporters that 60 million euros (82 million US dollars) is now available to build a new dam at Nhacangara, in Manica province, in the Pungue basin. Work on the dam should begin this year.