Cyclone Idai: 1 year on
Cyclone Idai left destruction in its wake last year. People lost their homes, their livelihoods, they lost children, partners, parents.
Whole villages were destroyed and thousands of people were left displaced. The threat of cholera rose every day with the contaminated flood waters.
We started an emergency appeal and you responded quickly, raising over £20,000 so our partners on the ground could distribute life saving supplies to families who'd lost everything.
Dombe ward, in Sussundenga District, Manica Province, was the second worst affected area. 171 people died and 15% of all those displaced in Mozambique lived there.
A resettlement was set up - 'Reassentamento de Muwawa' as it's called in Portuguese, the official language of Mozambique - to help people from villages in Dombe who had no where to go.
One year later, the scars caused by Cyclone Idai still run deep, but the new community at Muwawa is beginning to recover and rebuild.
"I am no longer living in the flood risk zone. At the camp we receive rice, cornflour, cooking oil. We also have tents and toilets. We learnt how to use a tippy-tap. We are very grateful for the assistance."
Maria used to live in Zichao, in Manica Province. Her family made a living through farming and rearing livestock. On the 15th March she woke up because water had begun to flood her house. She and her family ran outside and climbed mango and cashew trees, hoping to stay safe from the rising water.
The strong winds were too much for the cashew tree to withstand and it came down. Nine of her family members, including three of her sons were lost in the waters. “Sometimes I feel pain in my heart, because it is not easy to lose 3 sons on the same day without a chance to bury them”.
Maria, her husband and 3 surviving sons stayed in a nearby village for two weeks. Then they moved to the Muwawa resettlement.
"Because of the suffering I spent there I do not think about going back".
1,949 people have settled at Muwawa now. They can’t return home because the land isn’t fit to farm, they can’t afford to rebuild their homes or the trauma of what’s happened is too much to bear.
Joseph is 10 years old. He lives in the resettlement with his father, his two brothers and his sister Ana. Like Maria’s family, they were forced to climb trees to escape the flooding. “The water and wind were getting strong and the tree was shaken and we fell in. I was beginning to drown. My older brother took my arm and started swimming with me until we could reach another tree. My mother and other brothers were taken with the currents.
In the Zichau area where we lived it was a beautiful place but because of the suffering we had there I do not think about going back.”
Joseph suffered terrible losses because of the cyclone, like thousands of others. There’s nothing we can do to fix what he’s lost. But we can work in partnership to ensure his future can get brighter.
As well as providing emergency water, food, soap and sanitary pads, school materials were also handed out so temporary classrooms could be set up, providing much needed support and stimulation for children like Joseph and his sister Ana.
Joseph and his sister Ana
"We're living in the resettlement now and we are living well. This year I will go on to second class and I will dedicate myself to studies so that I can graduate and become a teacher so that I can teach other children"
Long term support
Food security was a critical issue. Huge areas of agricultural land had been ruined by flood water, wiping out ready-to harvest crops. The window to replant seeds was narrow and if missed communities would face a year of hunger.
We provided seeds and tools with your donations so farmers like Marie could restart their fields.
Many community water pumps had been completely washed away and those still working were being over-used by hundreds of people who’d lost their own water source. One school pump in Dombe meant for 300 people was being used by 900 families.
Josina (right) and members of her family
Josina’s village was destroyed by the flooding. When she and her family first came to the Muwawa resettlement there was no safe source of water so the chance of getting sick was high. Your donations helped local partners, WATSAN, install new pumps where huge populations had been forced to move to, like the resettlement at Muwawa, and repair ones that had been damaged. Now, a solar powered water point is accessible to all and Maria, Joseph, Ana and Josina have a permanent source of safe water again. Josina told us how the pump had improved life at Muwawa:
“We used to fetch our water at a pond which is a bit far from here. The water was dirty but there was no other place we could get water. Now I do not have to walk a long distance to fetch water. I can also take a bath which was very difficult before we had a pump. I am very happy and grateful.”
This year we are embarking on our most ambitious projects yet. We’ll be repairing around 800 water points in Mozambique, like the water point in Muwawa, so communities don’t have to live without safe water again.