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Rebuilding three months after Cyclone Idai

14 June 2019

Alexandre Uate’s vividly remembers the moment his house began to collapse as he sat inside it with his family.

Alexandre and Gina, who lost their home to Cyclone Idai (Photo: Dooshima Tsee)

Three months ago, on March 14th, Cyclone Idai tore a path of destruction through southern Africa. Alexandre's home in the Mopeia district of Mozambique was destroyed as winds and rain battered his village. 

“That was when I knew we had lost everything,” he says of the moment his house crumbled. “We lost everything and only escaped with our lives. It was almost time to begin harvesting when the flood came. We were able to harvest nothing. All we planted was lost.”

Alexandre, his wife Gina and their two teenage sons survived that terrible night but have had to relocate to restart their lives. Having lost their home and farm, rebuilding will be a long and difficult process. 

“We will build a new house in this place where we have resettled,” he says. “The corn that you see growing in the field we planted in April from seeds we received from Trócaire and Caritas. Since we didn’t have anything, everything we received was really crucial. We received the tools to work with and kitchen utensils.” 

Trócaire supporters

Cyclone Idai resulted in hundreds of deaths across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Many thousands of people lost their homes. 

The Irish public donated €413,000 to Trócaire’s emergency appeal. Those donations have brought food, shelter and hope to 135,000 people across the region who were affected. 

Gina tending to her crops. Trócaire supporters provided seeds and tools to her and many more like her after the cyclone. (Photo: Dooshima Tsee)

'I lost my baby'

Jacinta Jordao is one of the people who Trócaire supporters have helped. 

She was eight months pregnant and had just gone into labour when the cyclone hit. When the water reached her knees, she knew she could no longer stay at home. 

Along with her children, she claimed a tall mango tree and stayed there overnight as the winds and rain howled. 

The following morning, neighbours helped the family out of the tree. Tragically, Jacinta’s baby did not survive the appalling conditions. 

"It makes me sad when I remember all I lost,” she says. “My baby, my home, all I had. But when I look at my children, it gives me hope for the future. Everything I received from Trócaire and Caritas is very important. With these things I can begin to work out a life for me and my children.”

Jacinta makes a meal for her children. They are looking to the future after experiencing such tragedy. (Photo: Dooshima Tsee)

Looking to the future

The people affected by this crisis will never forget what happened on that dreadful night. But with thanks to Trócaire supporters they are already looking to the future. 

“Now that we have the tools for farming and the seeds, we can begin to rebuild our lives and think of the future of our children,“ says Alexandre.    

“I would love if I could see my children remain in school. We will continue working with the tools we were given so we can feed our family and make sure their future is bright. I am happy when I can work and take care of my family.”

Thank you for supporting Trócaire's Cyclone Idai Emergency Appeal. Your love changes lives.