Rebuilding starts as fire toll rises in Mozambique

Rebuilding starts as fire toll rises in Mozambique

11 September 2008

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Mozambique — The number of fatalities as a result of uncontrolled fires that have swept the central provinces of Manica and Sofala in Mozambique has increased .

Police spokesperson Pedro Cossa said the number of deaths had increased from 32 to 49, with 74 injured, some of them severely.

At least 13000 people have been affected by the fires, which have destroyed 16000 hectares in the provinces of Manica and Sofala.

The Mozambican government has embarked on campaigns to discourage rural dwellers from using fires to clear their fields, and contain the outbreak of fires, Prime Minister Luisa Diogo said.

“There is a need to teach rural people to stop using fires to clear their fields or smoke out rodents as a way of limiting the occurrence of incidences of uncontrolled veld fires,” she said.

Her government had reactivated the operations of the state emergency centre to gather information on the extent of the damage.

The ministers of state administration and agriculture had also been working in the affected districts to assess the situation.

State administration minister Lucas Chomera said the government would provide construction materials to those who lost their homes in the fire.

Authorities in the state administered national disaster management institute said it had started mobilising resources to assist those affected rebuild their homes and access food.

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