As churches in southern Africa mobilize to help the victims of the floods in Mozambique, the president of the country's main ecumenical organization had called on the rich nations of the world to forgive his country its crippling debts.Methodist Bishop Bernadino Mandlate, who is president of the Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM), said that it was immoral that creditor nations continued to demand payments while the country's population was struggling to survive the devastating floods. Mozambique pays US$1.46 million a week to service its debts, according to Christian Aid, based in London, which has publicized the bishop's call for debt relief."The economic situation of Mozambique was precarious before the flooding. Now the economic situation has gone from precarious to catastrophic," according to Bishop Mandlate, who belongs to the Methodist Church in Southern Africa (Wesleyan Church in Mozambique).Although in recent years there had been rapid growth, this growth had mainly benefited the urban areas, such as the capital, Maputo, Mandlate stressed. "Most of Mozambique has not seen the fruits of the growth. Nearly 70 percent of Mozambicans live in the countryside, and it is the life of these people which has been worst affected by the flooding. With the harvest gone, these people have lost their livelihood."Bishop Mandlate added that while the flooding was a disaster, the disaster of debt had been continuing for years. "I make no apology for discussing debt at this time. It is a disaster that children under five are dying because of [the lack of] healthcare, sacrificed because of the need to pay back old loans."A Christian Aid policy assistant, Mark Farmaner, told Ecumenical News International (ENI) today that the cancellation ...1
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