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Two sticks against a wall that survived Cyclone Idai and a piece of plastic now serve as shelter for Raul Augusto’s family and ten others, but the biggest complaint is the lack of food .
In the district of Buzi, one of the worst affected by the floods that followed the March 14 cyclone in Mozambique, shelters are improvised and new makeshift housing built, but the chief complaint is that no aid has arrived yet.
“If they gave out (food), is at the roadside. They did not come to the interior, to these parts,” Bernardo António told Lusa as he scavenged bricks from a demolished house. “Help? We have no help. There were only a few biscuits thrown out of a plane, but here we have nothing,” he says.
Bernardo Antonio’s words echo those of other inhabitants in the village of Mudamufo, between Tica and Buzi. Although they have had to improvise shelters to sleep in, it is the lack of food support that they complain about.
“Food has not yet arrived, no help has come, we have no help,” complains Raul Augusto who, together with his wife and four children, sleeps on what was once the porch of a house, under a large piece of plastic held up by poles leaning against the wall, a pile of clothes in one corner. He says he’s going to stay there, but he doesn’t know how much longer, and if it rains, it’ll be the same anywhere.
Not far away, in the village of Castigo, Nhamatanda district, Zacarias Paulo is trying to restart his milling business, totally destroyed by Cyclone Idai.
“The wind blew the house down so we rebuilt a little to get back to work,” he says. The mill looks fragile, but Zacarias says he will rebuild it and is now “organising money” to buy zinc sheets and bamboo. For now, he’s using recycled sheets recovered after the cyclone, a piece of tarpaulin on one side and tree branches on the other.
“Help has not arrived yet,” he states.
Mother of four Beatriz Mequi says she’s living in the school because she is homeless and has not had any help so far. She says they did distribute food at the school, but it didn’t get as far as her. “I do not know if they will bring more. They said they would come back, because there were many people who didn’t get anything.”
Many other residents of the region have similar complaints. Sebastião Zacarias says that, so far, “nothing at all” has been done, as does Vasco João, who says no help has arrived in the area and that it was only on the main road that assistance was available.
Sebastião also mentions the biscuits that fell from the sky, but says no-one has received rice or corn. Or almost no-one. “If only they gave us some plastic sheeting… ,” he wishes out loud.
Zacarias Mbimba, who has built a small, makeshift house with broken plastic, bamboo and grasses, used to grow rice, corn and tomatoes, but now has nothing and has received no help.
Not far away, his brother, Luís Mbimba, now living in a house even more precarious than usual in Mozambique, says the same of all districts in Nhamatanda and Buzi: “Nothing has come. Food, clothing – everything is lacking.”
And then, pointing at the house with its roof made of burlap sacks and old clothes, he says, in a low voice: “We all sleep here, underneath, no mat, underneath, a life which… Oh man!”
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