The Task Force of Italian co-operation experts set up upon instruction of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lamberto Dini, at the Italian embassy in Maputo, following severe flooding in Mozambique, has returned to Beira, in the north of the country, where it has carried out further humanitarian operations by helicopter to assist the Catholic missions run by the Comboni fathers. The Task Force has been allocated financial resources amounting, in all, to 12 billion liras for relief operations to the flood victims.
Making several flights, in some of which the missionary heads participated too, and assisted by an official from the Mozambican Ministry of Agriculture, the Task Force has taken tents and relief supplies, as well as farming equipment, and maize, pulse and vegetable seed, to Machanga, a town where buildings had previously been seriously damaged by hurricane "Eline" and was then submerged by the waters of the river Save. This aid will be used to sustain the families living around the missions and which, with the addition of refugees from neighbouring villages, now number twenty thousand people. The day after tomorrow, a substantial amount of essential medicines, including antibiotics, analgesics, anti-malaria and anti-parasite drugs will be delivered to the Comboni missions.
In Beira, the Task Force - along with the Italian missionaries - is holding meetings to plan operations with the deputy Minister of Agriculture, Joao Manuel Carrijo. In particular, they will determine what types of seeds are most suited to the area of Biera, where weather conditions are different from in Maputo. They will also define the distribution methods to be used to get the seeds to the families in need and who will also receive Italian farming equipment.
The objective of the Italian experts is to distribute seeds that can provide crops of maize, beans and corn within 4 months. They will do so by means of a genetic selection of the most suitable seeds, which will then be given out through a distribution network set up by the Mozambican Ministry of Agriculture.
The entire operation is being funded by the Italian co-operation office, with, for the time being, the first two billion liras of the three billion liras earmarked to this end.