Thousands of flood victims still await resettlement

Inhassoro (Mozambique), 24 Sep (AIM) – Thousands of victims of the 2007 floods in the Zambezi Valley, in central Mozambique, have not yet been resettled, over six years later.

This sombre fact is contained in the report from the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) to the meeting of the Coordinating Council of the Ministry of State Administration, under way in Inhassoro in the southern province of Inhambane.

According to the Deputy General Director of the INGC, Casimiro Abreu, the data, as of 5 September this year, show that “of the 285,000 people affected, 163,000 were resettled, equivalent to 25,000 households”.

“Those not yet covered by resettlement – about 122,000 people – have plots of land, and are currently living in tents, or in improvised and precarious houses”, said Abreu.

For definitive resettlement, households are making bricks and participating in building better homes, while the provincial governments provide building materials and pay artisans involved in the work.

Floods in 2007 and 2008 also affected the basins of the Save, Pungue and Buzi rivers. The government set up 105 resettlement neighbourhoods in five provinces (Inhambane in the south, and Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia in central Mozambique).

Abreu said that resettlement happens gradually, and the financial resources have not been sufficient to build houses for all the victims simultaneously.

Resettlement is also under way in the southern province of Gaza, after the devastating floods of January this year, which submerged the entire city of Chokwe.

The main resettlement area here is Chihaquelane, about 30 kilometres from Chokwe. In an initial phase, 95 houses will be built at Chihaquelane, 80 of them with building materials offered by the Brazilian mining company Vale. The other 15 will use material offered by the Ministry of Defence.

Abreu said that 20 of these houses are currently being built. However, there is still a shortage of building materials to complete the job.

In Maputo City, 105 households driven out of their homes by the torrential downpours of January are still living in temporary accommodation centres. The Minister of State Administration, Carmelita Namashulua, insisted that a definitive solution must be found to their plight.

Addressing the Council, she declared “We are committing a great mistake. People should only stay in accommodation centres for 15 days at most”.

According to the INGC data, the floods in Maputo affected 5,000 people in five of the city’s municipal districts. 662 plots of land were allocated to flood stricken households, and kits of family size tents, mattresses and blankets were distributed.

But even some of those who received cement and zinc sheeting have not yet built new homes because they say they do not yet have enough building material.

Not enough land is available for the flood victims near their old homes, which were destroyed in the January mudslides. The Permanent Secretary of the Maputo City government, Moises Matavel, said “negotiations are under way to acquire land in the municipal district of Katembe (across the bay of Maputo from the central part of the city) or in Marracuene district (north of the capital)”.

But some of the households have no desire to move to Katembe, which can currently only be reached by a ferry. They say that, if they move to Katembe, their cost of living will increase considerably.

Post published in: Africa News
  1. Wilburn Weston

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