There are urgent calls for help as three African countries; Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi experience untold devastation in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, regarded as one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere as a whole.
Joao Domingo, interviewed by Aljazeera TV returned to his home in the devastated town of Beira on Sunday after collecting the few remaining maize cobs from the family’s small communal farmland in Nhamatanda, located 101km away.
He recounted the days his family had spent stuck in the house without food, as floodwaters engulfed the surrounding area.
“We did not have food when we were trapped inside our small house – myself, my wife and four children – we starved,” said Domingo. “After makeshift roads were erected, I had to catch the bus today to Nhamatanda, but a plastic bag full of maize is all I could salvage.
“My children were crying when we were trapped inside the house for three days. My 14-year-old-son kept asking if we would emerge alive, and if he would ever go to school again”.
Another survivor, Ricardo Pereira, 28, said he used to spend most of his time on the beach, working as a “helper” for holidaymakers, but now he wandered around aimlessly, chatting with people about the carnage and its effects.
“It’s something we really don’t want to be reminded of,” said Pereira. “But you can’t avoid talking about it. When you see people sitting around on street corners as if nothing happened, it is because [we] are just trying to put a brave face on. But we do talk about it.”
The Western Media puts the death toll at about 800 but the reality is more heartrending as residents say thousands must have perished in this tragic disaster.
Thousands remain stranded in remote rural areas. International aid is starting to reach the region, while workers struggle to repair roads, restore power, and care for the survivors—with special attention toward preventing cholera outbreaks.
The Disaster Emergency Committee, an NGO providing relief to affected areas says it has raised over 18 million pounds and is calling for more.
Today’s Echo has come across several agonizing images online: dead bodies washing up on beaches, hordes desperate people standing on tiny patches of land in the midst of a deluge, multitudes of children wading desperately through water to reach what they see as safety; an aid helicopter that has no space left to save them.
There are now widespread calls for assistance to save those who are trapped, provide aid to millions who have been rendered homeless and help rebuild the countries devastated by the cyclone.
See some photos and videos below: