Diakonia - People change the world
Jacinta Francisco Jacinta Francisco in one of the many makeshift camps around Beira, Moçambique. Photo: Natalia Jidovanu/Finn Church Aid

“At least no-one in my family has died”

Cholera is now threatening already challenging conditions in the camps in Mozambique. We have met a family who lost everything in the storm.

We meet Jacinta Francisco and her five children in a makeshift camp in Beira. The camp used to be a school for over 2,500 pupils, but the damage caused by the cyclone that swept across Mozambique has been too extensive and the school is now closed. It is instead serving as a refuge for some the area’s most vulnerable families.

Lost everything

Two weeks after the disaster, many people in the camp are returning to their old homes on a daily basis to see if anything can be salvaged. It is difficult to comprehend that they have lost everything.
“At least no-one in my family has died. But the future is bleak,” says Jacinta.

The day before Cyclone Idai made landfall at Beira, Jacinta knew that the storm was on its way, but she could not imagine how bad it would be. The cyclone tore the roofs off the houses, and bricks tumbled from the walls. Jacinta, her husband and children fled to her mother’s house and they hid there together in the room they thought would be safest. The next day, all that was left of the house was its foundations. Jacinta now has no idea how she will afford to rebuild the house.
“The only thing I can think about right now is making sure the children have food.”

Before the cyclone destroyed her home, Jacinta sold tomatoes and vegetables, but her stock and stall have been blown away. Her husband used to work at the destroyed school. Now he lives in the ruins of their old house in the hope of being able to rebuild it again.

High risk of cholera

Earlier this week, the UN reported over a thousand cases of cholera in Beira, and the figure is rising. There is a high risk in the overcrowded camps. It is so cramped where Jacinta and her children live that there is no room to turn over at night, and many opt to sleep outside instead.

We are working together with our partner organizations to combat the spread of cholera and other diseases. We are distributing water containers and water purification equipment in Beira and the surrounding areas.