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TROPICAL POLITICS | Cyclone Idai, Mozambique

Updated: May 24, 2020

Cyclone Idai was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. The storm caused catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, leaving more than 1,000 people dead and thousands more missing.

The cyclone's exact death toll is expected to never be truly known.

I arrived at Beira, Mozambique - a few weeks after the devastating Cyclone Idai hit East Africa - to cover the efforts and work of The Israeli Forum for International Humanitarian Aid (IsraAID).

One day we were driving through the city and passed the neighbourhood of Praia-Nova, or rather what was left of it.

Looking out the window I was shocked and saddened by the state of the neighbourhood. What added further to my surprise, was that there were no aid workers present - only people in despair.

I asked a local driver about the place and I was told that Praia Nova was a dangerous neighbourhood and that I should not set foot there. However, this served to make me even more curious about the area.

I learned that Praia Nova was established as an illegal fishing village, one with very little resource or amenity. Cyclone Idai made it go from bad to worse. Because the government considers this settlement illegal, the residents did not receive any aid from the government itself nor from international aid organizations who work through the government.

Thousands of people living here were consequently left stranded, with contaminated water sources and collapsed houses. These are the poorest of the poor, who lost the little they had, and no one seemed to care.

I wanted to visit this place to shed light on its desperate situation. Despite the warnings, I didn't feel in danger for one second. On the contrary, residents welcomed me in and shared their stories openly.

I met a beautiful community that were busy piecing their lives back together.

Their main concern however, was health.

The contaminated water and poor hygiene conditions, left them exposed to disease. Many have already lost dear ones. There was not much I could do other than listen, show sympathy, and share their struggle with all of you.


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