Maputo — The Mozambican government announced on Monday the creation of a commission to accompany the distribution of foodstuffs intended for the victims of cyclone Idai and the subsequent flooding in the central provinces of Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Tete.
A press release from the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers said the commission is headed by Agriculture Minister Higino Marrule, and includes the Deputy Ministers of Transport, Manuela Rebelo, of Labour, Oswaldo Petersburg, of State Administration, Albano Macie, and of Public Works, Victor Tuacale.
"This brigade of the Council of Ministers is already in Beira, where the Emergency Operational Centre has been installed, and it will accompany the entire process of distribution headed by the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), and monitor the arrival of support for the victims of these disasters", said the release.
The government has already taken some urgent measures for managing the emergency period, in order to strengthen the transparency and reliability of action in support of those in need. One of these measures is the introduction of independent auditing services in all emergency operations.
Efforts to prevent the theft of aid have led to the arrest of five workers of Beira Municipal Council. These are all Council officials who were caught helping themselves to relief goods intended for cyclone victims.
According to a press release from the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Commission of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, three of those arrested are neighbourhood secretaries, from Neighbourhood 19, Communal Unit B, and Manga Mascarenhas. The other two are block chiefs. None of them were named in the release.
The parliamentary commission is in Sofala province, observing the distribution of aid, speaking to cyclone victims, visiting accommodation centres and interacting with the local authorities. It includes members of all three parties represented in the Assembly, the ruling Frelimo Party, the former rebel movement Renamo, and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
A spokesperson for Beira Municipal Council, cited by the independent television station STV, said he was aware of the detentions, and in light of the information he had received he thought the arrests were appropriate. He said that in future the aid distribution should be house to house, to avoid further abuses.