Cyclone Eloise and COVID-19: Where do we go now?
This is Praia-Nova; an area hit by Tropical Cyclone Eloise in Beira city. Deocina (33), a mother of five who fled the floods and is now staying in a temporary accommodation centre wants to go back home, because she fears the impact of COVID-19. She is concerned that the temporary accommodation centre, which is about a kilometre away from her home, is not a safe place in this time of the pandemic.
“I share rooms with my five children along with other households that fled the floods in Praia-Nova. It’s really difficult and challenging living in this place especially in this time of COVID-19,” Deocina vents. “On top of that, there is no such thing as privacy here”, she adds. This is the reason why the mother of five has been going back to her home in the last two days to try and recover some of her destroyed belongings and tidy the house so they can return.
Deocina sits down on the floor in the rubble of her house to rest and breastfeed her newborn, Janaia, who is a year old. “I had a very busy morning. I’ve been working very hard in the last two days to try and rebuild life", she narrates. It not easy and there is still a long way to go, but there is no other way. We have to rise up again, especially now that staying in a crowded place such as an accommodation centre poses a risk to us all; more to my children, due to COVID-19. I know that our house is also not a safe place to stay. But where do we go now?”
How I wish I could provide a safe home to my children
On the day that Tropical Cyclone Eloise hit, the roof of Deocina's house was swept away and the walls fell. This forced Deocina and her children to seek refuge at dawn. The children’s clothes and school material were washed away.
“We ran away. There were no conditions for us to stay there. Our house was partially destroyed and floods came in. We had to seek refuge at dawn. We first stayed in a school then we were moved to an accommodation centre where we are staying now,” says Deocina, adding: “This is not the first time. First it was cyclone Idai, and the tropical storm Chalane, and now Eloise. Ah! How I wish I could provide a safe home to my children, where no cyclone would hit us!”
According to the National Institute for Disasters Management (NDMI), more than 248,000 people have been affected by the cyclone in Mozambique, and over 16,000 houses have been destroyed, damaged, or flooded. Thus far, eleven people are confirmed dead and 12 injured since Eloise made landfall on 23rd January.
By: Lourino Pelembe, World Vision Mozambique Communications Officer