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Glória Pedro saw her two houses swallowed by mud and water in Chiluvo, a village in the centre of Mozambique, when Cyclone Idai and floods ravaged the region from Thursday night onwards.
“What alerted me was the noise,” said the 34-year-old Mozambican, who lives in a village where, as in so much of the country, the houses are made of locally-sourced materials and the population lives on subsistence agriculture.
Nothing has been able to withstand the fury of the cyclone and the subsequent floods. Houses throughout the region have been destroyed, even those built of brick and concrete. Fields are submerged and food lost in a humanitarian crisis yet to be evaluated.
Chiluvo, along with Nhamatanda, Sofala, illustrates the tragedy that has befallen the central region of Mozambique, especially in the provinces of Sofala and Manica, where there are between 73 to 84 confirmed deaths (according to official figures by Monday morning) and thousands of people isolated in flooded areas are in need of rescue.
Gloria Pedro and her family are now turning to their relatives for shelter and to satisfy their basic needs.
Roads to the village are destroyed, but some vehicles are nevertheless risking the journey, even though rivers are expected to rise again.
Mount Chiluvo is also where the main telecommunications towers for the central region of Mozambique are located.
One resident said that last Saturday they heard a kind of explosion and suddenly a muddy river was descending rapidly towards people’s homes.
“I was indoors with my children, but when we looked we saw mud coming down the road towards the houses and we fled,” Francisco Carlitos told Lusa.
The family lost their home and their food and escaped, pursued by the river of mud.
The Chinese company rehabilitating National Highway 6, the backbone of central Mozambique, has meanwhile mobilised a bulldozer to remove rubble, but the road remains partially submerged and, in some places, destroyed.
Another resident said that, when residents saw the mud, they began to run, but alerted the others to the danger, thus avoiding an even worse outcome.
Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi flew to the flooded region by helicopter on Sunday after Cyclone Idai had passed through central Mozambique, and called for the rescue of isolated groups.
The head of state shortened an official visit to eSwatini (former Swaziland) on Saturday and travelled directly to the city of Beira, whose airport re-opened on Sunday to receive domestic flights.Source: Lusa