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Photo courtesy: Carlos Serra
A group of 150 volunteers in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, are helping load a ship with supplies for victims of Cyclone Idai in the centre of the country. The ‘Solidarity Ship’ sails for Beira at noon tomorrow. Meanwhile, the ‘United for Beira’ organisation has made a last minute appeal on its Facebook page:
We are approaching the end of packaging basic goods for transport to Beira on the “Solidarity Ship”, which leaves on Saturday (March 23) at 12 noon.
However, we still need more of the articles listed below.
– Water purification products
– Tents, mattresses, sleeping bags and blankets
– Mosquito nets
– Non-brittle kitchenware (pots, metal mugs, jugs, plates and cups of plastic or metal)
– Canned food
– Coarse salt
– Oil (sizes smaller than 5L)
– Personal hygiene products
Please have goods delivered as soon as possible to the Maputo Port Cabotage Terminal (access via Av. Mártires de Inhaminga, near Gungu Theatre) between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m..
Meanwhile, volunteers from all over Maputo swarm the place. “Maputo port has put out an international appeal, a ship has been obtained and we are sorting material in various parts of the city. We’re making up food kits,” says Joana Martins, coordinator of the United for Beira (Unidos Por Beira) movement.
In the intense heat, everybody is working towards one goal: to ship 14,000 tons of goods to Beira. People of all ages are carrying sacks of rice, flour and beans, water bottles – a whole panoply of donations that makes them believe that it is possible to reach their goal.
“We need more containers. That’s a good thing,” Martins says.
A total of 13 containers are already filled, but bowls, buckets and water purifiers, mosquito nets and small mattresses still remain to be packed. A collection of clothing is being divided according to size and sex packaged in labelled boxes.
Activity began on Tuesday and the ship is expected to leave on Saturday. Outside, youths shout and sing while unloading 30 kilogram bags from a truck and drop them into a container.
“This is a gym,” their coordinator jokes.
Some volunteers have just arrived. “I left work early and came to give my time,” Ivete Mavie told Lusa. She was motivated to participate by the shocking images of the disaster – something that “can happen to anyone” – and the sheer number of victims.
Staff members with vests and T-shirts emblazoned with the word Beira in bold letters mill among vehicles arriving every 20 minutes to download donations from companies and individuals.
Tropical cyclone Idai, with heavy rains and winds of up to 170 kilometres per hour, hit Beira in central Mozambique on Thursday evening, leaving about 500,000 residents in the country’s fourth-largest city without power.
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced on Tuesday that more than 200 people had died and 350,000 were “at risk” and declared a national state of emergency.
Communications were being re-established on Tuesday and have now improved considerably, with partial mobile internet access restored.
Source: Carlos Serra / Lusa
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