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Violent crime in the chaos caused by Cyclone Idai has been seen in the city of Beira, central Mozambique, the director of the Esmabama Association, a non-governmental organisation linked to the Catholic Church in Mozambique, has reported.
In a report released on Tuesday, Fabrizio Graglia, who lives in Beira, described attacks on people and invasion of homes, adding to the desperation residents have been experiencing since the passage of Cyclone Idai on Thursday of last week .
“In the city at night, groups of men are roaming, no one knows whether to cut trees or people, given that violent crime numbers have increased considerably, with several attacks on people and robberies on damaged and open homes,” Graglia says.
Concerning the Catholic Church’s infrastructure in the region, Graglia says the new Esmabama office is virtually destroyed and must be guarded by police and security guards day and night. It was left without roof and the boarding students are sleep under the trees, while the pig farm is completely gone.
Estaquinha’s farm lost more than 100 tons of maize, which could have fed the region’s boarding schools for four months, and all its agricultural machinery has been submerged – “An investment of 200,000 Euros swallowed by water,” Graglia notes.
Part of the Mangunde mission school and health centre saw its roof blown off and the surrounding communities are completely flooded.
“Some of our staff and students have been injured, but so far we have not heard of deaths among our own,” Graglia’s report reads.
It is still raining torrentially, and is expected to continue doing so for the next few days. Rivers continue to rise above alert level, the director of the Esmabama Association adds.
Neighbouring countries, which are also being affected by torrential rains, will surely open the floodgates to prevent damage to dams in their own countries, releasing more flood water into the Sofala region.
“I am dismayed and shattered by this Dante-esque scenario and the panic on the faces of those who now fear for their lives and those of their kith and kin. We need urgent help,” he warned.
Cyclone Idai’s passage through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe has caused at least 222 deaths, according to provisional figures released by the regions governments on Monday.
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