12 July 2019

Mozambique: Donors Not Releasing Promised Cyclone Aid

"We are in a situation in which bombastic and beautiful announcements were made, but the aid promised has not arrived," President Filipe Nyusi said in Portugal on 4 July. "Much of the announced aid has not arrived." He stressed that many people lost houses and need cement, roofing sheets and other building materials.(O Pais Economico, 5 July) Families need to rebuild and plant a crop before the rains start in November. Nyusi also noted that Mozambique does not have money to rebuild roads and bridges washed out in the floods, some of which had been built in the colonial era.

In a statement on 11 July, (Carta de Mocambique) Public Works Minister Joao Machatine said donors are only now carrying out an inventory. A reconstruction plan will be presented to the Council of Ministers on 13 August, which suggests donor funds will not be available until September, when the election campaign has started. So it does not look hopeful for donor aid to reach affected people before the rains start.

In a pointed message to donors, Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario told a UN interview: "People know what they want - building materials. We need a partner who supports us with the building materials. The people do the work, they make homes typically suitable for their conditions, very well-made. We have created all the conditions so that people do not need to return to the risk zone." And he added "we have been insisting strongly that there should not be a very large gap between promises and disbursements - because we really needed resources yesterday, even before today." (https://news.un.org/pt/story/2019/06/1677861)

At the 31 May - 1 June donor conference in Beira, donors pledged only $1.2 bn, just 38% of the $3.2 bn the government said it needed for rebuilding. Of that, only $790 mn is new money and $390 mn is reallocated from other programmes. The full table of donor conference pledges is in the attached pdf of this bulletin.

Pledges of new money by individual countries are quite small. Furthermore, some of these countries are still refusing to channel aid through the government and are refusing to disperse aid until there is a new non-government channel.

Mozambique's government had hoped that creating a post-cyclone reconstruction office headed by the highly respected Francisco Pereira would satisfy the donors, but it has not. Pereira has stressed that procurement rules must be followed for reconstruction and that there must be full transparency. Except for a seven years break as a World Bank consultant, he has been heavily involved in the roads sector since independence, serving as deputy minister for public works 2010-15. He was head of the Mozambican Order of Engineers for a decade.

Cyclone Idai hit Sofala on 14 March and did substantial damage in Beira; in Buzi, Dondo and Nhamatanda districts of Sofala; Sussundenga in Manica; and Maganja da Costa and Namacura in Zambezia. Extensive flooding continued in some areas for three weeks. INGC reports that 603 people were killed and 1,642 injured; 111,202 houses were destroyed and 112,745 damaged. A maximum of 150,000 people were temporarily in accommodation centres. Not all have been rehoused.

Cyclone Kenneth hit Cabo Delgado on 21 April and did substantial damage in Ibo, Macomia and Mocimboa da Praia districts. According to INGC 45 people were killed and 39 injured; 2930 houses were destroyed and 32,034 damaged. A maximum of 20,000 people took refuge in accommodation centres. At least 3000 people are still homeless, northern regional director of the INGC, Helder Siueia. said on 4 July.

Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique are identified as "climate crisis disasters". Both cyclones were made more severe by the rising ocean temperatures; Kenneth was the northernmost cyclone ever to hit Mozambique. Climate crisis disasters are happening at the rate of one a week, according to Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction. “This is not about the future, this is about today.” (Guardian, London, 7 July)

Meanwhile, 2.8 million people in 27 districts in the south are at risk of drought, Prime Minister Agostino do Rosario told a conference in Maputo 10 July (Carta de Mocambique, 11 July). In Gaza there is a programme to build small reservoirs and irrigation systems, he said. All climate crisis forecasts say Mozambique south of the river Save will become much dryer, and water conservation will be essential.

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