When Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe on 14 March 2019, it left a trail of death and destruction. People’s lives and livelihoods were taken, and hope was hard to find.
Tearfund and our partners, along with other charities, launched an immediate response. But for Edgar Jone, Tearfund’s Country Director in Mozambique, the disaster had personal consequences. His family lived in the capital city Beira, one of the worst hit areas.
Peter Shaw, Editor of Tear Times, spoke with Edgar on the one-year anniversary of the cyclone:
Peter Shaw: Take us back to that moment when you first saw Beira and the destruction there. What did you see and experience?
Edgar Jone: There was no life. Life stopped. All the markets stopped, everything stopped. All the roads were broken so you can't drive, there is no drinking water, no electricity, no roofs on the hospitals and schools – everything was stopped.
PS: One year on from Cyclone Idai, how are people in Mozambique coping today?
EJ: People are still struggling in the places where the cyclone hit. More than 10,000 people are still without shelter. Thankfully, some have already been resettled by the government on higher ground where there is less risk of flooding. But today Mozambique is suffering from drought. It is not raining enough, and we have 2 million people in need of food in the southern region of Mozambique and the provinces where Idai hit. There is still a lot of need.
PS: And what about the psychological trauma for those people affected?
EJ: People lost everything. Some lost parents, family members, some lost children. I heard a story recently of a lady who was pregnant, and was forced to climb a tree during the cyclone. She gave birth in the tree. But her other two children, they were swept away in the flood water. The psychological trauma is a big challenge for people. They still need healing and also prayers.