In Mozambique, priest reports on ‘victims crying for help as they were carried away by floods’

A PRIEST IN Mozambique has given a graphic account of the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai, amid reports that up to 1,000 people have been killed since the violent storm made landfall March 14, 2019.

Girl carrying young child in Tete, Mozambique

In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Father Sandro Faedi, apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Tete, described how people cried for help as the flood waters came towards them. The priest’s personal testimony comes as ACN has begun working with the local Church in the port city of Beira to provide essential aid. Beira has a population of 600,000.

Father Faedi said: “Beira is no longer a city. It has been destroyed almost entirely. From an airplane, the city presents itself as a large lake, from which emerge buildings without ceilings. You don’t see streets, houses, fields. A lot of people have lost their lives.

“Above the houses or up in the trees, [many people were] asking for help, which nobody heard. They were carried away by the fury of the rivers entering the city.”

Father Faedi told ACN that the region, which is now mostly under water, has “no telephone, communications and no drinking water,” as 125 mile per hour winds, heavy rains and floods continue to destroy the country’s infrastructure.

With the death toll expecting to rise, he said: “For now, we only pray, ready to give our contribution when the time comes.” The priest’s comments come as Pope Francis expressed his “pain and closeness to those dear people.”

Floods and winds flattened Beira, a port on the Indian Ocean known as an economic engine of Mozambique, before moving to Malawi and Zimbabwe, affecting more than 2.5 million people.

Archbishop Claudio Dalla Zuanna of Beira told ACN: “The help from ACN will be useful because it will serve to revive the ecclesial presence by confronting immediate expenses such as the acquisition and distribution of plastic tarpaulins, material, etc. (buckets, glasses, plates, etc.) and the logistics for transport. Once again we thank you for your generosity and we will keep you informed.”

—Citra Abbott