Cyclone Idai: Inside the eye of the storm

A family at the train station in the village of Tica, Mozambique, which is being used as a makeshift emergency evacuation centre for those displaced by flooding

What was it like being caught up in Cyclone Idai? Survivors of the storm in Mozambique tell their stories to CARE.

When the storm started we began running to find a safe place. We had no food and our clothes were soaked. We couldn’t believe to be alive.

Mariamo Humberto in Mozambique
Mariamo Humberto, aged 16, outside her family’s home that was all but destroyed by the force of the cyclone

Mariamo (above) is from Praia Nova Village, one of the most affected neighborhoods in Beira. Located right on the coast, this shanty town of loosely built homes was extremely vulnerable to the high winds and rain. Mariamo says:

We were very scared when the storm started. And now we are here. We have lost clothes and even food. Everything is wet including clothes.

Diolinda Fabiao in Mozambique
Diolinda Fabião, aged 14, collects water from a open well with other women. This water is not potable, but it is all that the community has.

I was sleeping and I woke up because I felt like I was floating. But my leg was actually in water. So I woke up my mother and we took our food and went to look for a safe place.

Families like Diolinda’s are now returning to try to pick up the pieces of their lives. Diolinda (above) says:

We could save some food. But I lost all my school books and clothes because they were all in the water.

Morganda Albino in Mozambique
Morganda Albino fled to the higher ground of a roadside when the waters started rising

Morganda (above) is from the village of Tica in Mozambique. She says:

First the winds started. The next day the water flooded our home [so] we started running. I saved my children but I lost my ducks, goats and my clothes. So now we have nothing to eat. We are sleeping along this road and when it rains we will be flooded again.

Luis Bernardo, a fisherman in Mozambique
Luis Bernardo has been using his fishing boat to help rescue other survivors

Luis (above) is a fisherman whose home was flooded in the the village of Tica, Mozambique. He has been using his boat to rescue up to 20 people a day. It takes him 6 hours round trip to reach flood victims sheltering in tree tops. He says:

These are big trees people are sitting in. They have been in them since Friday and don’t have anything to eat. And how will they survive? So I take my small boat to help rescue them. The situation is bad and there are many people stranded.

Roque Fernando sitting on canoe, Mozambique
Roque Fernando sitting on his boat that he used to bring his family to safety in the village of Tica after his home was flooded.
Joao Ofomane holding firewood, Mozambique
Joao Ofomane brings building materials from his flooded home to dry land in the village of Tica
Man standing near submerged homes, Mozambique
A man stands near half-submerged buildings as the flood waters stretch behind him across what was formerly solid ground
Woman wading through flood water with belongings, Mozambique
A woman wades through flood water trying to salvage some belongings from the collapsed and submerged homes

Watch this video footage shot by Josh Estey for CARE in the immediate aftermath of the storm:

Rescuing people and delivering emergency supplies

People disembarking from rescue helicopter, Mozambique
Rescue helicopters land in the evening bringing rescued flood victims to the city of Beira. Many of these people have been living in trees for several days.
Damaged warehouse in Beira, Mozambique
The emergency response has also been hit by the fallout of the storm: this World Food Programme warehouse in Beira, where the UN and NGOs like CARE store emergency supplies, was wrecked during the cyclone
Emergency supplies being unloaded from lorry, Mozambique
Emergency supplies provided by CARE with funding from UK aid being unloaded from a lorry
Man carrying relief supplies, Mozambique
Emergency supplies include tents and tarpaulins

CARE’s emergency response in Mozambique

CARE is part of the COSACA consortium of international aid organisations working in Mozambique (other members are Oxfam and Save the Children). We have used stockpiled supplies (funded by UK aid) to deliver to affected people 500 tents, 200 rolls of plastic sheeting and rope for temporary shelter, 2,800 family kits and over 2,000 hygiene and family packages containing items such as soap, buckets, mosquito nets, blankets, tarpaulins, and water canisters to reduce risk of disease. We are liaising with other organisations and government authorities to provide further immediate assistance, including water purification tablets, menstrual hygiene items, jerry cans and soap, emergency latrines and hygiene promotion support to prevent water contamination and water-borne diseases.

Photos and interviews by Josh Estey for CARE.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.