Italian relief efforts stepped up to assist flood victims in Mozambique

Originally published
Rome, 3 March 2000 - The on-going Italian relief effort to assist flood victims in Mozambique is being stepped up. Operations are already underway to distribute the first spate of aid that has arrived in Maputo and Beira by two cargo planes. These flights were organised by the Development Co-operation department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On board they were carrying 800 million liras' worth of material from the humanitarian warehouse run in collaboration with the UN in Pisa, including tents, medicines and first aid equipment.

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Defence are also considering the possibility of sending helicopters to the country for emergency humanitarian operations.

In addition, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lamberto Dini, has announced that further aid will be sent for a value of 10 billion liras. Five billion liras are to be disbursed through the emergency structure of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is already operating in Maputo. The other five billion will be disbursed over the coming days, in the form, among other things, of purchases made directly by the Italian Embassy in Mozambique of goods that are deemed indispensable for victims of the flooding, according to their needs, as ascertained in loco.

To this end, a task force is being set up within the Italian embassy in Maputo, composed of experts from the co-operation office under the leadership of the deputy Director General of Development Co-operation, Massimo Iannucci, who is travelling to Mozambique. The government will then decide on what further operations to undertake on the bases of the requests made by the Mozambican government and the needs ascertained by the task force the government. The purpose of these operations will be to assist the local authorities to prevent any epidemics from breaking out.

Lastly, a meeting is being organised for late March to early April in Rome of the main international donors in order to assess what has been done so far and to launch a multilateral programme of assistance to Mozambique.