Maputo — The municipal authorities in the southern Mozambican city of Matola have transferred 79 families from flood prone areas to new homes in the Mahubo area, in the adjacent district of Boane.
These families had been living for years in a marshy area of land beside the toll gate on the Maputo-South Africa motorway and in the Muhulaze neighbourhood. Both areas are prone to flooding in the rainy season.
The Matola municipal council wanted to move these families in early 2015, but failed to do so. Only in October this year was another survey undertaken to ascertain which families must leave. It was decided to resettle immediately 24 families living beside the toll gate and 54 from Muhulaze.
According to a report in Wednesday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais", resettlement began on 5 November and should be complete by the end of the year.
"We are transferring families who were living in an area of risk and in flimsy houses", said a spokesperson for the Matola Council. "Living conditions there left a great deal to be desired. These families suffered from the rains, and from diseases, caused by bites of the mosquitoes that are abundant in the area".
None of the families will be compensated. Instead they are each receiving a plot of land 30 by 15 metres in area, a tent, blankets and foodstuffs, so that they can install themselves in Mahubo. "We have also ensured that they are near a school and a health unit, that there are standpipes for drinking water, and that road transport is available", said the Council spokesperson.
Some of the families who spoke to "O Pais" said they are pleased with the transfer, because they now have a larger space for their homes and better conditions of privacy.
"O Pais" reporters visited Mahubo and found that the tents had been erected for each family, and that the promised school, health unit and standpipes did indeed exist. However, the resettlement site does not yet have any electricity, and it could take some time to install power.
One of the concerns expressed by the new inhabitants of Mahubo is the distance between their new homes and their workplaces in Maputo.