Mozambique is sinking in mud and water.
Two weeks ago torrential rains which are hard to imagine left more than 200 thousand people homeless in the Capital Maputo alone. These rains have cut off roads, swept aside connections, flooded villages in the hinterland. Now the Eline Cyclone has arrived. A good part of the country has been swamped, causing the waters of the Limpopo river to flood its banks.
An area larger than the Po Delta can be reached only from above, covered as it is in water. The other great river, the Incomati, has interrupted connections between Maputo and Beira. A million people have been left homeless, without food, medicines, water, work or harvest produce.
Mozambique has just emerged from 16 years of a civil war in which one million people died. She was, and still is, one of Africa's great hopes. Peace in this land, achieved after two years of negotiations in Rome, pursued with imagination and patience by the Community of Sant'Egidio, with the collaboration of the Italian Foreign Ministry and Government, represents something unique for the continent and a model for others, but alas still a mirage in a continent torn apart by war and Aids. Peace is holding: there have since been two normal democratic elections, and the programs of the Monetary Fund, even with their inevitable contradictions, have began to improve the standard of life for some of the population. Together with South Africa, Mozambique can show other African countries how to emerge from violence without using violence. In spring the widest ranging attack ever launched against Aids in Africa will begin, to be subsequently extended to the other African countries seriously hit by this disease.
But now Mozambique is sinking, and if it sinks, chances are that the hopes of a country and of a whole continent will sink with it. There's food only for 300 thousand people and for only three months in the stores of the World Food Program. Just to rebuild connections requires 120 billion lire. The United Nations have sent out an appeal to the whole world. Absolutely everything is in short supply. In the areas that have been hit it is impossible even to treat influenza.
And what about us? With what kind of courage can we speak of money and aid, after all the diffidence caused by the cloud of suspicion hanging over the Valona camp affair and from there on over the whole Italian Rainbow mission? There's no rainbow here. There's only rain that gives no respite. The area of bamboo houses where the Community of Sant'Egidio of Maputo used to run a school for 40 thousand youngsters off the street, more than half of them just children, no longer exists. Every school and public building is full of evacuees. Everything has come to a standstill. How much longer can all this go on? All very well, but with what kind of courage can a new national fund raising campaign be promoted? It has to be done because it is necessary. And also because it is an intelligent thing to do. To breathe life into Mozambique is to give life to Africa; it is to make Europe live better, without the fear of being besieged by people coming from the Southern Hemisphere with nothing at all. And Mozambique is also a part of us. In no other country, probably not even in the Balkans, has Italy been so decisive, with the blue helmets helping the transition from war to peace.
The Community of Sant'Egidio has begun an emergency aid plan that will make distributions directly in the field through its net of volunteers in 38 points of the country. No-one is paid for it. These thousand people already live in the country. But everybody's help is needed. We cannot make it without a extensive collection of funds done on a national scale. It is a great opportunity, even for claiming back for ourselves the right to be vulnerable, and for this reason, to be human.
If you want to help with a donation in favour of the Mozambique population, you can use the following account n.:
c/c postale n. 97968002
Comunità di Sant'Egidio
Amici nel Mondo
piazza S.Egidio 3/a,
Please, specify "Alluvione Mozambico"
c/c bancario n. 112233
Comunità di Sant'Egidio
presso Banca Popolare Etica,
Via Rasella, 14 - 00187 Roma
ABI 5018 - CAB 03200 - CIN G
Please,specify "Alluvione Mozambico"