The Government of Mozambique has disclosed plans to repatriate citizens who were displaced by Tropical Storm Ana-induced floods and sought shelter in Malawi.
Speaking on Wednesday in Nsanje District during a meeting with officials from the council and the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), Mozambique’s Director of Prevention and Mitigation at the National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD) Cesar Tembe, said his it was high time the displaced Mozambicans returned to rebuild their lives.
“Plans are at an advanced stage to facilitate their repatriation. There is adequate land for their resettlement. We understand that our citizens are in need of a return package, as an institute responsible, in collaboration with our disaster risk management partners, we are ready to provide them with shelter materials and any kind of assistance upon their return, to aid their settling. It will be costly for us to provide the return package while they are here.
“We are working on establishing the current situation, for instance the total population of the displaced as a good number of households returned on their own. We understand there are 1617 Mozambican households, mostly from Morrumbala District, being hosted in eight camps, here in Nsanje, but we also need to have details of the exact areas where they came from to ensure that we are taking them to the right places and provide them with necessary support. This will ease the repatriation process and we are working closely with the Government of Malawi to achieve this.
“We would like to have this [repatriation] process finalized as soon as possible, all things being equal, within two months for are mindful of the next rainy season, which is just a few months from now,” said Tembe.
He then commended the Malawi Government and its citizens for warmly welcoming and taking good care of the displaced Mozambicans.
“It’s not an easy task, the Government of Malawi has been taking good care of the Mozambican citizens through provision of shelter, food, clothing and other basic needs since January this year,” said Tembe.
DoDMA’s Director of Disaster Response and Recovery Rev. Moses Chimphepo said the repatriation resonates with the recovery interventions the Government of Malawi has started implementing following devastating effects of Tropical Storm Ana and Cyclone Gombe.
“We have implemented various response interventions and the focus is now on recovery, the affected or displaced people need to rebuild their lives and engage in social economic development of their country.
“We had over 2500 households from Mozambique who sought shelter in Nsanje District, we now have slightly over 1600 and we are committed to supporting the Government of Mozambique with the repatriation process. They are in the country to sensitise their people on the need to return, the good thing is that the displaced are willing to go back home. All things being equal, we expect the actual repatriation to start from the last week of July [this year].
The Malawi Government has been providing displaced Mozambican households with food and non-food relief items. A fortnight ago, DoDMA provided 850 bags of maize to Mozambicans living at Bangula Camp.
In February this year, the Mozambique Government donated 60 metric tonnes of assorted relief items for distribution to displaced Malawians and Mozambicans living in camps set in Nsanje District. In April, the Malawi Government donated 30 metric tonnes of beans to Mozambique towards supporting people affected by incursions in Cabo Delgado.