The Portuguese government Wednesday donated US$ 700,000 to support Mozambique’s relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) and to assist small scale fishermen, the Thursday publication of local daily, ‘Noticias’ reported here.
Of the sum, US$ 450,000 was earmarked to strengthen the INGC’s capacity to assist the victims of flooding in central Mozambique and of cyclone Jokwe that hit the northern province of Nampula between 8 and 9 March.
The money was handed over on Mozambique Island, one of the districts worst hit by the cyclone, during the visit by Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva.
The island, three kilometres off the Nampula coast, was the first colonial capital of Mozambique and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
During the ceremony, Portuguese Ambassador Jose Freitas said the remaining US$ 250,000 will finance small scale fishing, which is the main economic activity for most families on Mozambique Island.
The money will be handled by the Portuguese NGO, Oikos and the Association of the Friends of Mozambique Island (AAIM).
The cyclone caused serious damages on Mozambique Island, where many fishermen saw their boats destroyed or swept away by the storm.
Freitas said the donation came from contributions by the Portuguese government and two Portuguese banks, the Banco Comercial de Portugal and the Caixa Geral de Depositos.
Speaking on the occasion, Cavaco Silva said the gesture meant the friendship and cooperation between the two countries are becoming ever stronger, “and we could not remain indifferent after the floods and the cyclone left thousands of families in a difficult situation.”
He said initiatives to support the implementation of social and economic projects on Mozambique Island will continue to receive the attention of the Portuguese government, particularly in order to create job opportunities in fisheries, agriculture and tourism.
On his part, Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana, speaking on behalf of the Mozambican government, said the donation came at a time when the government was workin g to strengthen the INGC’s capacity to improve its assistance to the victims of disasters.