In may 2019, central Mozambique was hit by tropical cyclone IDAI, which devastated large areas of Sofala and Zambezia provinces. Shortly after the disaster we worked with Oxfam Novib in Beira to gather stories of what had happened to the people living in these areas. Below find some of the photos and testimonials of the portrayed people.
Three Indian Navy training boats that were in the region decided to make camp in Beira to help the cyclone victims. They set up a medical first aid and temporary shelter in the port.
Every day they conducted two rescue missions to remote areas like Buzi, where people where trapped because of the floods following the cyclone.
When locating stranded people, the rescue boats approached to take as many as they could.
Manuel Joao, with his two-year-old daughter. They had been on the island with no shelter, food or water for 7 days, with no assistance whatsoever. They were surviving on coconut water, whenever they could find it.
In Buzi village, people arriving on community boats at the dock where the Indian rescue boats are.
There was a large number of people trying to get on the boat, and even more still in the village, many on rooftops to shelter from water. There was quite the panic on the dock, everyone wanting to get on the boats at once. One of the Indian rescue boats almost toppled over because too many people were getting on. The boats had to leave in a frenzy to prevent them from sinking under the weight of the people. Captain Shravan Nani tells me the same thing happened yesterday as well. Communication is a major problem because the Indian rescue team only speaks English.
“We knew the cyclone was coming. The wind came around 6-7 pm. We hid in our house. The next day the floods came around midnight. In Nharongo (locality in Buzi district), where I live, we were attacked by the water. I walked almost all the way here, but there was a patch I couldn’t get across, from there I continued on a canoe that happened to pick me up and brought me to Buzi village. In Nharongo people don’t have houses left. There is no place to live. Everything is full of water.” – Amadeu Soquiso
“When I saw the boats hope came back to me. Because I was counting on the worst, I didn’t know what would happen to me, I had no hope left. Neck deep in water, and I don’t even know how to swim.” – Amadeu Soquiso
During this mission on the 21st of March 64 people were rescued, 24 of them children.