In the hours between last Monday night and Tuesday morning the lack of proper and consistent engineering in public and private buildings in Maputo city, especially in the periphery, was once again exposed by heavy rainfall. Certainly, no lessons will be learned by the authorities or victims from this avoidable situation. Those with whom we celebrate the “social contract” pretend they do not hear the thunderous cries of distress.
The same roads, the same fields, the same houses and the same schools that were submerged by water from precipitation for months before were flooded again their already precarious state made worse. This scenario repeats itself annually. It is puzzling that citizens stay in their homes when flooding is forecast. Nothing is learned from the suffering of past rainy seasons. The risks become a way of life shaped in the day-to-day routines of communities.
Although the natural disaster risk reduction and management authorities warn that rainfall is expected to cause flooding, victims remain in their homes waiting to be evacuated. The community expects best practices by the Government, but their inability to react and manage disaster situations properly has been proven. Communities must flee from danger areas on their own initiative instead of depending on the contingency plans of an authority that cannot even properly outline land plots, and not least because such contingency programs have never been effective at preventing disasters.
We cannot wait for the Government to tell us where we should go to escape the fury of flooding. The path that leads us there is the same as always, but you should never return to the origin. Act in such a way that demonstrates citizenship and maturity and that is independent from any political authority. Those who ignore the Institute of Meteorology’s forecasts and wait for the municipality or the INGC, for example, to indicate where they should take refuge risk death by negligence; waiting for a salvation that may never come.
The Government, from whom we request a dignified life and quality sanitation systems, has a duty to ensure these conditions for all citizens. Yet, there are huge distances between what is promised and what is delivered. If people abandoned the flood risk areas early instead of staying and waiting for a miracle solution, the cries for lost lives would become something of the past. You cannot wait for the Government to distribute plots or houses because there would not be enough for everyone.