Cyclone Kenneth: PR calls for calm
Without electricity, without water and, in many cases, without a roof, the population of the city of Beira in Mozambique is living through frightening times. Yara Ismaile describes the scenario she experienced when Cyclone Idai destroyed the city where she is an IT student.
When Cyclone Idai struck Beira, Mozambique, on Friday, panic settled on in the city. Yara was at home with her sister, and remembers the “terrifying” moment when the ceiling threatened to rise, and she really had no idea what to do.
“I remember that on that day, no-one went to work. The shops did not open, and, my sister and I were at home. The ceiling was rising and falling, and many houses in the neighbourhood were destroyed. That was when we got under the bed. It was a terrifying thing. I didn’t know what to do, my sister worse. It was a very scary experience ,” she tells TSF.
When she woke up the next day, Yara no longer had “light or water”, and it was all but impossible to communicate with the outside, even to call for help.
“There was a phone number for the ambulance that the government had passed out on social networks, but we had no way of calling. We had no network, we had no battery charge. The military barracks was left without a roof. Everyone was calling for help but there was no-one to help.”
Yara decided to evacuate to Chimoio, where her parents live, but her sister did not go with her. “Yesterday she called me early in the morning crying in panic. She hasn’t had anything to eat and can’t get out. All the houses in her area have been destroyed. The day it happened she gave shelter to some neighbours – two ladies, a grandmother and a mother who lost a little baby when the house collapsed on it,” she recounts.
Ana Imilda lives in Xai Xai, the capital of Gaza province, and is marshalling students there to collect donations for people affected by Cyclone Idai. She explains to the TSF that Beira is a city with many universities, so “practically the whole country has a loved one there, a son, a brother”. She describes the current situation as “tragic” and says that “it is difficult to find food because most of the supermarkets are destroyed, and the rain still hasn’t stopped.”
The program director of the Mozambique Red Cross says that shelter kits consisting of small tents and mats are already being distributed, so that people and families can at least enjoy a little privacy.
Titus Queirós dos Santos points out that “17 volunteers coordinating with humanitarian organisations have been sent to each district to provide support in the construction of shelters, latrines and to help raise awareness of good hygiene practices.” The Red Cross is “mobilising food so that we can support people affected. In places cars can’t get to, we’re going to use boats.”
It is estimated that 90% Beira has been destroyed by Cyclone Idai.
By Sara Beatriz Monteiro and Sara de Melo RochaSource: Diário de Notícias