Maputo — The Mozambican government on Tuesday approved a contingency plan for dealing with possible natural disasters during the 2017-2018 rainy season, budgeted at a billion meticais (about 17 million US dollars).
Speaking to reporters at the end of the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government spokesperson, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ana Comoana, said the money will be used, in the first instance, for monitoring purposes, to issue warnings about impending disasters, and to put human and material resources in position in advance, so that they can respond rapidly to events such as floods and cyclones.
“These funds are also intended for search and rescue operations, and for humanitarian assistance to people at risk”, Comana added.
In the first part of the rainy season (from 1 October to the present) heavy rains destroyed or damaged 3,774 houses and affected an estimated 18,522 people, she said. These storms also destroyed 146 classrooms and affected seven health units.
The government approves a rainy season contingency plan every year. For the 2016/2017 rainy season the amount approved was 800 million meticais.
The Council of Ministers also decided to rescind the contract which granted management of the port of Quelimane, in the central province of Zambezia, to the private company Cornelder. The rescission, said Comoana is by mutual agreement between the government and Cornelder.
The port will now return to the hands of the publicly owned port and rail company, CFM. This measure, Comoana said, “seeks to ensure the defence of the national interest and guarantee the continual promotion of the socio-economic development of all users of Quelimane port.
It was also intended, she added, to ensure that there will be no conflict of markets between Quelimane port and the planned deep water mineral port at Macuse, also on the Zambezia coast.