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A soldier from the Tete air base drowned after being swept away by the Revubóe river during Storm Ana, residents and authorities said on Thursday.
They remember him as “a hero”, without even knowing his name, Avelino Campange, secretary of the Chingondzi neighbourhood, told Lusa.
On Tuesday morning, when the river rose suddenly, they saw him running to save the battalion chief, to whom he reached out, he says.
Then, with the waters rising every second, he proceeded through the neighbourhood helping more inhabitants. But as he was getting ready to help, “he slipped and fell”, Campange told Lusa.
No-one saw him again in the midst of the murky waters.
“This happened at the unidade de Nhacumbi, the creek that flows into the Revubue,” and this time it was fatal, the neighbourhood secretary says.
Chingondzi is the most populous neighbourhood of Tete city, a suburb of 58 blocks. made up of several administrative units sitting between the Rovuboé and the Zambezi rivers.
Most were submerged during the floods, which swept everything away.
The most visible feature in the landscape is the bridge over the Revuboé, an important road link, now split in half, a sign of the strength of the waters.
The current rose in just a few minutes on Tuesday morning and set in, resident Pedro Jonesten recalls.
“We didn’t even have time to get the things we wanted,” he says, with the anguished look of someone who has seen his belonging swept away right in front of his eyes.
And the reports of deaths are multiplying.
Four children drowned just a few metres from Marta Tivane’s house.
“The mother tried to get some possessions to safety, but when she returned, the house was already flooded,” and she was no longer able to help her children, she said, suspecting that the number of victims is sure to rise.
Now, she is trying to get out of the sea of mud that has formed in front of her house.
Inside, the water reached the ceiling, and on the floor there is more mud, filling purses, and covering the clothes and furniture.
Her house remained standing, but others in the vicinity could not withstand the flow, and it was among these that Inácio Cambé, the chief of the block, was walking.
Over the stormy days, which only abated on Thursday, he managed to save 20 people, sheltering ten in his modest home.
“I had just woken up, and was thinking about my plans for the day, when I heard people shouting ‘Water! Water!’ We ran outside, to find some houses already submerged,” he recalls.
There followed a “fight against the current” and, at the same time, “warning people to at least save their lives”.
The number of deaths caused by Tropical Storm Ana in Mozambique on Tuesday rose to 20, according to the local and civil protection authorities. Residents in several northern and central districts are now living amidst a trail of destruction.
Mozambique has a seasonal cyclonic season, and Tropical Storm Ana, which, having made landfall, lost strength and turned into a depression, was the first and only one to hit the country so far.