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Until last week, Amina Murteira lived in Buzi, in central Mozambique, but Cyclone Idai destroyed her home.
Amina, her husband and two children are now staying at the Samora Machel school, turned into an emergency shelter for flood victims, in the city of Beira. Back in her village she has nothing, “really nothing”. But she has a story to tell that she will never And she tells it in chronological order.
Cyclone Idai arrived on the 14th, Thursday of last week, around 7 p.m., in the dark of night.
“The zinc roofs of all the houses fell. The coconut trees, all the trees fell”.
Amina and her family spend the night waiting for the cyclone to end.
And on Friday morning they went looking for some zinc sheets and set up an improvised shack, where they stayed until Saturday.
“On Sunday, the water started arriving. When we saw the water coming at 7:00 p.m., we began to go away, but we had barely taken two steps and we already had the water up to our waist. All we did was go to the school and, just by going from the house to the school, we had the water up to our shoulders, we could hardly walk.”
Amina tells every step of her story serenely, even when she speaks of the difficulty in carrying the children, even when she speaks of reaching the school, where some of her neighbours already were, going up on top of the windowsills and staying there all night, as she could feel the waters rising.
By Monday morning not even windows were safe and people had to use capulanas (sarongs) to improvise ropes for men to climb up to the school’s roof and from there help women and children do the same.
But the water kept rising and people were terrified of slipping down the inclined rooftop so they asked to be rescued by canoes sailing past and they were asked for money in return.
Still serenely, without any resentment, as if it were natural, Amina says that “people who passed by on canoes were asking for 50 meticais (less than one Euro).”
“But people [on the roof] had no money to offer them,” she explained.
While Amina had no money, she had her mobile phone, which she offered someone in exchange for saving her family on a canoe. Other people stayed behind, and she has no idea if they managed to escape. “I gave my cell phone to be rescued, the other people stayed there, I do not know how they left, I do not know if they left.”
The owners of the canoe left her family in the centre of Buzi, where they sat on the football field benches at the highest points.
They stayed there, without any shelter and surrounded by water. “We didn’t have anything to eat or drink,” she explains. “People were drinking that water,” she added, referring to the water from the flooding. But Amina hanged on there.
On Tuesday, helicopters finally arrived to rescue people but Amina and her family did not manage to be rescued and it was only on Thursday that a boat took her to Beira, free of charge.
Amina feels relieved now. “At least I have a dry floor to sleep on, I no longer have water on me,” she explains.
And now? Amina doesn’t know what will happen. She gets emotional when he says that when she returns to Buzi she will not have nothing.” No home, no clothes. “We will just sit on the floor.”
Amina sais that if is to go back, she would like to build a home somewhere high up, explaining that water was “always” entering Buzi. She was left without a home in 2000 and in 2007 water also entered her home.
But Amina doesn’t know when she will be able to return “home” and her husband, a teacher, has no idea either.
She is only sure about one thing: Her mobile phone saved her life.Source: Lusa