Testimony from flood survivors
10 March 2000
This temoignage collection of five accounts was taken on March 10, 2000.
Regina Marte (56)
From Lione, a village near Chokwe
I was at home when the floods came. It was 3 o'clock in the morning on
the Sunday of the flood (29th February), when I woke up. By the time I
was out of the house, the water was up to my chest. I waded, waded,
waded, trying very hard to find the road. When I finally reached the
road I found a car to give me a lift. That's how I got here. But at
least I didn't have to pay any money - others had to pay. My whole
family ran away but we left everything behind. Then, when I first got
here, I stayed in the 'club house' here in Macia. But so many people
came there after me, that I moved to Camp 2. The health centre is fine
although it's very crowded in the morning. But it is possible to be
seen. But we don't have enough shelter here from the rain, and even
food sometimes we can't find.
Helena Vuma (21)
From Biroo number 5, a settlement very near Chokwe
When the floods came it was Sunday (29th) and I managed to get to a
tall tree which I climbed. I stayed there until Tuesday, so I was
three days in the tree. I was very tired but I had to stay awake. One
night I fell asleep by accident and I fell down into the water. But I
couldn't climb back up because I was too tired, so I stayed in the
water until the next evening. Then I climbed back up. We all drank the
flood water while we were there - well, there was plenty of it. When
the water went down a bit I walked to the road and got a lift from a
passing car. I had to pay 25,000 Meticais ($2) which was all the money
I had. But I'm glad my husband is here.
Candida Antonio (26)
From Biroo number 3 settlement, very near Chokwe
At the beginning of February number 3 got flooded, so I moved to
number 5. Then at the end of
February that too flooded and I had to find the road. We waded a long
time but we found the road eventually and got a lift. I also had to
pay 25,000 Meticais and I had nothing left. I don't know how I'll be
able to go back, or when. I'm waiting for the government to say it's
safe to go back but I have no money at all now, so tell me how am I
supposed to go back? There are seven in my family here - I'm lucky
they are alive, but I have mouths to feed. And there's not much food
here now - soon that will stop as well.
Julietta Maundla (49)
From Nwachicoluane, north of Lionde
The water came from Lionde and blocked all the roads and ways out.
There was no way out of the village, but luckily we went upstairs and
got on the roof of the house - it has two floors - and we were saved
by a traditional boat two days afterwards. The boat took us up to the
road where we got a lift for 20,000 Meticais. It was noon when we left
and arrived here in Macia at 5pm - the road was very bad. (The drive
from Chokwe to Macia should take around 1.5 hours). My immediate
family was saved but when I left my village some of my relatives were
sitting on the top of a big water tank and I haven't heard from them
since. I don't know where they are or if they are alive. I've been
here for nearly two weeks, but I have eaten only twice in that time.
I've also heard from other people arriving from my village that when
the water had gone down my house was broken into and everything was
stolen - my cooking pots, blankets, everything.
Works at Chokwe Agricultural Research Station
I managed to save the car and drive away before things got too bad.
But all our research is lost now. People can't plant for the time
being because the land is waterlogged, but when they can they will
need seeds. Problems here are more organisational than anything - the
co-ordination between NGOs and the administration is not well run. The
helicopters are also too small to carry large amounts of cargo at any
one time. There are not enough blankets, covers or materials for
cooking - we wonder if the 'chief' (administrator) here has taken
them. Some people got clothes today, but they need more. Sometimes
I've seen over 40 people in one tent - this is very dangerous if
disease breaks out.