781122E GOVERNMENT APPROVES CONTINGENCY PLAN
Maputo, 23 Nov (AIM) – The Mozambican government on Tuesday approved the National Contingency Plan for the 2022-2023 rainy season, which is budgeted at 12.5 billion meticais (about 195 million US dollars, at the current exchange rate).
The Contingency Plan is drawn up every year to respond to the risk of disasters and to mitigate their impacts. The Plan also seeks to ensure coordination of humanitarian assistance to victims and rapid and effective recovery.
The plan was published by the Disaster Risk Management Institute (INGD) earlier in the month and was approved by the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) at its weekly meeting on Tuesday.
The plan faces a deficit of 7.4 billion meticais, which will have to be covered by foreign aid. The government spokesperson, Deputy Justice Minister Filimão Suaze, told reporters that, to implement the plan, the government is counting on its cooperation partners to mobilise funds to bridge the deficit
“Unfortunately, our country deals cyclically with this matter and we already have a consolidated experience of approaching our partners so that annually we update the information in accordance with what we obtain from the meteorological authorities”, said Suaze. “There are various national and foreign bodies which collaborate with the government in mitigating the effects of disasters. There is nothing new about this”.
The Council of Ministers also approved regulations on the handling of ammonium nitrate, a chemical used as fertilizer in agriculture, and as an explosive in mining and quarrying. The regulations, said Suaze, will establish the legal regime applicable to the procedures for handling, storing, transporting and using ammonium nitrate in Mozambique, taking into account the safety risks associated with this chemical.
These became dramatically clear in August 2020, when about 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded in the Lebanese port of Beirut, killing over 100 people, injuring more then 5,000 and causing damage valued at over 15 billion dollars.
Investigations after the explosion showed that a dormant London-registered company called Savaro Ltd had chartered the shipment in 2013, intending to send it from Georgia to an explosives factory in the Mozambican port of Beira.
But the ship carrying the ammonium nitrate, the “MV Rhosus”, went nowhere near Mozambique. Instead, the ship was detained in Beirut over unpaid debts and technical defects. The cargo was effectively abandoned in a warehouse for seven years until the catastrophic explosion of 2020.
Investigative journalists proved that Savaro Ltd was owned by a Ukrainian businessman, Volodymyr Verbonol, although he initially denied all connection with the shipment. He has operated through a complex network of shell companies spanning the globe.
Savaro has sent at least three other shipments of ammonium nitrate to Mozambique.
The “MV Rhosus” was operated by a company called Teto Shipping, which claimed it abandoned the cargo in Beirut, because it did not have enough money to continue the journey to Beira.
A spokesperson for the supposed destination of the ammonium nitrate, the “Fábrica de Explosivos de Moçambique” (Mozambique Explosives Factory), Antonio Cunha Vaz, told reporters that, as far as he knew, Savaro was a Ukrainian company whose boss was known to him simply as “Mr. Volodymir.”