«It felt like a never ending night, I stayed awaked all night long with bated breath and ears pricked peering closely through the window without really seeing anything. On the background, the sound of breaking glass, speedy wind, metal sheets blown away which are the roof of the majority of houses here. Fortunately, my place is on the second floor of a three-floor building and I was safe there because no water was entering trough the ceiling nor from the floor. Yet, that night seem to be lasting forever especially because power went out, we were completely isolated and I was alone».
Chiara Picelli, Cuamm admin is safe and sound at the moment but she says she never experienced anything like this over 11 years spent in Africa. Hours of fear, waiting for the nightmare to be over. It was some days ago when Freddy cyclone passed through Mozambique, hammering Quelimane and the area around with winds blowing at 148km/h. Now it is time to assess the damages. Over 200.000 people affected, more than 18.000 houses destroyed, 37.2000 people displaced sheltered in 55 accomodation centres of which 29 located in Quelimane. More than 191.562 hectares of farmed land destroyed, 50 health centres severely damaged and 53 fatalities in the provinces of Zambezia, Sofala, Nampula and Manica. A record-breaking cyclone: the first to hammer twice the same area and the longest-lasting cyclone ever recorded. It made its way to Africa developing first on early February in the archipelago of Mauritius, Indian Ocean, to later hit Madagascar and Mozambique between February 20th and 24th. It looped back out towards the Indian Ocean and gained energy to later head towards Malawi and Mozambique for the second time.
«Numerous houses have been destroyed and remained without roof, also the Cathedral’s roof has been blown away as many health centres that are not able to run their services at the present moment- says Chiara. Many colleagues have been affected suffering severe damages and remaining without water not power because the wind and the heavy rain destroyed the grids. Numerous are the trees shot down also those around our office. Fortunately, we had time to cover the windows with wood panels hence protecting ourselves from broken glass. Mocuba health center, where CUAMM runs its activities, is completely isolated and cannot be accessed because both the road and the bridge remain covered in mud».
CUAMM is making efforts to support local authorities in the emergency response by providing basic needs as foodstuff. In Quelimane is raining again while cholera outbreak has already erupted in town.