Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-03-01-Speech-3-111"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, Mozambique is a young African country which has made heroic efforts to recover from the underdevelopment resulting from two decades of civil war and to adapt to democracy. The credit for Mozambique’s success story must be shared equally by its government, by the opposition, but above all, by the people of Mozambique. There is a risk, however, that all the effort that has been made in recent years, after all the problems with the peace agreements, with which we are all familiar, will have been wasted as a result of the natural forces that have been unleashed on Mozambique over the last few weeks. The current figures reaching us on the extent of the disaster are terrifying, as the Commissioner has already said: around one million people homeless and more than one hundred thousand on top of roofs or trees, waiting for a helicopter to come and save them. There have already been hundreds of deaths. The EU and some of its Member States, including my own, have provided emergency financial aid, perhaps a little later than they should have, but they have done so, as have the United States and various countries in the region, particularly South Africa. It is now obvious that the main priority is for rescue helicopters, followed immediately by food aid and other emergency humanitarian aid. Although these floods began three weeks ago, the whole world has finally begun to wake up to the dire straits Mozambique currently finds itself in: there are thousands of people whose lives are hanging by a thread and who will soon die unless we arrange transport, particularly air transport, to get them out of the situation they are in. This is undoubtedly the greatest priority at the moment: search and rescue transport and emergency humanitarian aid, including food aid. I would like to emphasise, however, that the EU and the rest of the world must not limit their aid to Mozambique to the emergency that we are now discussing. We must be aware of the aftermath of the floods. It is therefore now becoming urgent for us to start considering how we can find financial resources to rebuild the infrastructure that has been destroyed and without which Mozambique cannot continue on the path towards development on which it set out a few years ago in such a promising way. Rebuilding infrastructure is crucial, because otherwise there can be no development. It is also time for some creditor countries to think about writing off or reducing Mozambique’s debts. If nothing is done now, we will be letting all the effort that we have made in the past to help Mozambique in its development go to waste. I therefore hope that the visit by Commissioner Nielson and representatives of the Portuguese presidency this week will enable us to treat this extremely important issue with the seriousness it deserves."@en1

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