What It Looks Like In Mozambique As Recovery Continues A Month After Cyclone Idai Hit
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
Just over one month ago, Cyclone Idai barreled into southeastern Africa with high winds and heavy rains. And by the time it left, it had killed at least a thousand people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. It displaced many more. It destroyed homes and farms, and it brought cholera to waterlogged areas. The World Bank estimates recovery will cost more than $2 billion. Reporter Tendai Marima has been reporting from some of the hardest-hit places in Mozambique. She joins us now to talk about who she's met and what she has seen. Hi, Tendai.
TENDAI MARIMA, BYLINE: Hi, how are you?
CHANG: I'm good. Thank you for being with us again. Can you describe these places that you've visited? What do they look like now?
MARIMA: Well, at the moment I'm in this port city of Beira. And when the cyclone hit, this was the first place to be affected. Life is slowly resuming to normal, and people are trying to get their lives together. People are trying to put their businesses back together, businesses that were damaged by the water or by very strong winds. People are also trying to rebuild their houses, particularly in areas that are closest to the coastline.
CHANG: So you had a chance to go around and survey the damage just within Beira. But you also left Beira and looked at some even harder-hit areas, right? What did you see there?
MARIMA: In some of the harder-hit areas, you know, I could see that they're very, very difficult to get to. Like, in Buzi, which is northwest of Beira, I visited that area over the weekend. And it was - you know, until a week ago, it was one of the hardest places to get to, even for NGOs, which are trying to get in medical support or other kind of humanitarian relief. Most of the consignments are being brought in by air. However, there's still a sense of hope and resilience amongst the people. There's a very, very strong sense of faith.
CHANG: What do you mean? What signs of hope or faith have you seen?
MARIMA: The strongest signs of hope is particularly in the church, people, you know, gathered together for Sunday mass. And, you know, people were praying. They were singing.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED CONGREGATION: (Singing in foreign language).
MARIMA: I also met Father Primero.
FATHER PRIMERO: (Foreign language spoken).
MARIMA: Who is the head of that church there. And at the time of the cyclone, he was living at the parish. As the floodwaters then started to recede, hundreds of people started to come to the church looking for a place to stay.
PRIMERO: (Foreign language spoken).
MARIMA: He estimates about 1,200 people were staying at the church at that time. And, you know, as the situation started to ease up, some people moved to internal displacement camps because they just didn't have homes to go back to.
CHANG: And I understand that you visited some of those camps. What were they like?
MARIMA: Yes, I visited a couple of those camps in the Nhamatanda District. I met a young woman. Her name is Regina Armando.
REGINA ARMANDO: (Foreign language spoken).
MARIMA: She is one among 8,000 internally displaced people that live at this resettlement camp in Nhamatanda.
ARMANDO: (Foreign language spoken).
MARIMA: She said, you know, she would need to start thinking about getting birth certificates for her children...
ARMANDO: (Foreign language spoken).
MARIMA: ...Getting her own identity documents sorted out, you know, getting blankets again - because all of these things were washed away by the water.
CHANG: Now, this cyclone, it has affected well more than a million people. Do people feel like the world is still paying attention to the amount of need?
MARIMA: You know, from the way that people feel, there is a sense that people need to remember Mozambique. They're just really appealing for some kind of international aid and for greater support to come to them because right now, particularly in the camps, people don't have much. And for people whose houses were washed away or for people that have to rebuild their lives over, you know, they definitely need a lot of support.
CHANG: Tendai Marima reporting from Beira, Mozambique. Thank you very much.
MARIMA: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.