Maputo — The government of the northern Mozambican province of Nampula is preparing a site on which to open a transit centre to house displaced people fleeing from terrorist attacks in the neighbouring province of Cabo Delgado.
The Secretary of State for Nampula, Mety Gondola, confirmed these plans on Wednesday at the end of a meeting of the provincial Emergency Operations Centre. He did not say exactly where this centre would be, or when it would be opened - he merely told the meeting that the government and its partners are on the ground inspecting the conditions for opening the centre.
Gondola insisted that this work must be done because of the security of Nampula itself, and the care required for the resettlement of displaced people. "The number of the displaced is increasing", he said. "We are concerned, but we are also comfortable with the work being done by the technical team and by our partners. Apart from the humanitarian assistance being provided, we were informed of the progress being made in preparing the future transit centre".
He clearly believed that at least some of the displaced will be staying in Nampula for a long time, for he said the Nampula authorities are also preparing spaces for the definitive resettlement of people fleeing from Cabo Delgado.
He said land is being parcelled up on which displaced families can build houses. Areas have also been identified on which they can grow crops "so that they can get out of an emergency situation, and become productive and increasingly self-sufficient".
"This question of resettlement should not be taken lightly", Gondola warned. "There are sensitive questions to be taken into account, particularly the security of our own province".
According to Alberto Armando, the Nampula provincial delegate of the Mozambican relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), Nampula is currently hosting 8,166 displaced people from Cabo Delgado. This figure breaks down into 1,608 men, 2,135 women and 4,423 children.
Meconta district has the largest number of these internal refugees (3,320) who are installed in and around the town of Namialo. There are 2,445 displaced people in the provincial capital, Nampula city, and 938 in the port of Nacala.
Armando said that most of the displaced want to farm. "At least 87 per cent of these households used to farm in their home districts", he said, and they want to continue farming. Land is available in all the districts. The district governments are committed to seeking land that can be allocated to the displaced people interested".
The authorities estimate that, to make this operation viable, about 1.88 million meticais (about 26,800 US dollars) will be needed to buy tools and other agricultural inputs.