Mozambique: Rainy season death toll stands at 35

| January 20, 2013 | 0 Comments

13 of the known deaths have occurred this month, and currently 25,997 people are classified as “affected” by the torrential rains. This figure includes about 8,000 children who are unable to attend school, because their schools were swamped or damaged by the storms.

Giving a breakdown by province of the effects of the rains, the Minister of State Administration, Carmelita Namachalua, said 11,600 of the affected people are in Manica, 4,432 in Maputo city, 3,835 on Maputo province, 1,990 in Nampula and 1,914 in Zambezia.

Namachalua said that, of the 25 deaths, 12 people had been electrocuted when strong winds knocked down electricity cables, and eight were struck by lightning. Other victims were drowned as they attempted to cross rivers, were swept away by the flash floods caused by torrential rains, or were killed by crocodiles.

The government considers that the situation is still under control, Namachalua said. Local capacity exists to respond appropriately and to evacuate people from dangerous areas.

Although government institutions are in a state of readiness, and resources have already been allocated to areas at greatest risk of flooding, Namachalua said that efforts should be redoubled to ensure that that the Local Risk Management Committees remain pro-active. She took the opportunity to advise people living in high risk areas to move to higher ground to avoid further deaths.

“We urge parents and guardians to pay more attention to the movements of their children during this rainy season, to present them being swept away by the waters”, she added. “The government reiterates its commitment to working with the community to lessen the impact of the rains on the population”.

Under the Contingency Plan drawn up last year, the government has already made 120 million meticais (about four million US dollars) available for relief operations, including providing food and emergency kits to victims, repairing damaged infrastructure and preventing outbreaks of disease.

Namachalua told reporters that, as from Saturday morning, the Cahora Bassa dam will discharge 650 cubic metres of water a second into the Zambezi river – which is the result of a 50 per cent opening of one of the dam’s eight floodgates. (This is less than the 1,600 cubic metres a second, which the dam operating company, in a release issued earlier ion Friday, said would be discharged.)

The Minister said the discharges would create space in the Cahora Bassa lake to store any surge of water from the upstream countries, particularly from the Kariba dam, on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border.

Namachalua stressed that the Cahora Bassa discharges will occur gradually so as to avid major impacts on the people living along the middle and lower Zambezia

After two days of fairly clear skies, rain began to fell on Maputo again on Friday night, though not with the same intensity as on Tuesday. Since rain is forecast to continue throughout the weekend, the Coordinating Council recommended that Maputo Municipal Council should ensure that people still living in high risk areas should be evacuated by Saturday morning.

(AIM)

Fta/pf (548)

65113E CHIBUTO HEAVY SANDS TENDER ANNULLED

Maputo, 19 Jan (AIM) – Mozambique’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Esperanca Bias, has annulled the restricted tender held last year for development of the titanium-bearing heavy mineral sands in Chibuto district, in the southern province of Gaza, according to a report in Saturday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.

The tender was launched in late 2011, and the bids were opened in May 2012. As a result the rights to exploit the Chibuto heavy sands were granted to the Zambezi Delta Consortium, which then had 180 days to negotiate with the government the terms and conditions for the project.

This was the third company to be awarded the rights to Chibuto mineral sands. Originally the rights were given to the Australian company BHP-Billiton, but it withdrew in 2009.

Then, in April 2011 the rights were handed over to Rock Forage Titanium Ltd, a company formed by Canadian and Mozambican investors.

However, in November 2011 the government cancelled Rock Forage Titanium’s rights because the company failed to pay it the agreed signature bonus of 50,000 US dollars, despite repeated extensions to the deadline.

The government therefore had to lunch another tender, which only received two bidders: Zambezi Delta Consortium and SPI Chibuto Sands Consortium.

Once again, the tender has failed. The deadline for negotiating and signing a project implementation agreement with the government expired on 3 December, but the company did not meet the deadline, and the government is now back to square one.

The sands at Chibuto contain known reserves of 72 million tonnes of ilmenite, 2.6 million tonnes of zircon and 400,000 tonnes of rutile. This is enough to keep a mine in production for 30 years.

Ilmenite (iron titanium oxide) and rutile (titanium dioxide) are used to make white pigments for paints, paper and plastic. Titanium can be extracted from these ores and used to manufacture metallic parts where light weight and high strength are needed. Zircon (zirconium silicate) is used for abrasive and insulating purposes.







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