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I am very grateful to the Prime Minister [of Portugal], my dear friend Antonio [Costa], for the attention that Portugal is giving to the dramatic situation in the wake of cyclone Idai, in particular in Mozambique. We are following it very closely and with a lot of participation – also emotional, I visited Mozambique myself - and I am constantly in contact with the authorities there. The dramatic number of victims, and in particular that of children, worries us enormously. We have already mobilised first €2 million as a first aid, a first emergency response.
The Mozambican authorities have activated their request for our support and we have activated today the Civil Protection Mechanism of the European Union, a mechanism for all EU Member States to contribute to these efforts of solidarity and of this humanitarian “must” that we have to provide assistance to the population and help the country in a very difficult situation. We are also providing support with the satellite images of our Copernicus system. Mozambique has to know that the European Union, and me personally and us personally, will be fully mobilised to accompany them step by step and to help the country recover from this terrible, terrible tragedy.
Q: When can the people of Mozambique expect this new funding?
First of all, we need to finish the needs assessment. The situation in the country is very critical and we want to do it, obviously, with the Mozambican authorities, so the partnership is ongoing. To me, it was very important to send an immediate signal with €2 million, even if it is a first step compared to the needs. But it was important for us to mobilise this money as soon as we learnt about the tragedy. We have activated the Civil Protection Mechanism now that allows also all of our Member States to contribute to this effort. And we are ready to mobilise further money also from the European Union side, as soon as the needs assessment comes. It is also important that the Mozambican authorities advance specific requests on what is needed. I know it is very difficult to act in these kind of circumstances; I know that the situation on the ground is very dramatic, but we are there to support them with our resources in a coordinated manner, also with the Member States. And I would like to thank Portugal for what it is already doing.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-169919