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I spent the days and nights camped out at the airport, the only place in town with power and WiFi. It can be hard to imagine life in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Unless you are witnessing the wreckage firsthand, where the number of people displaced from their homes, injured, or dead are not just numbers on a page.
I urge you to grace this moment to let me tell you what it is really like on the ground in Mozambique, before you scroll by or click another headline. Two weeks ago, Cyclone Idai hit the city of Beira in Mozambique. Chances are, you’ve never heard of Beira. It’s a Mediterranean style port city, located in Southern Africa directly across from the well-known island nation of Madagascar. Beira has a town square, a popular beach, Portuguese style restaurants, and a population of more than 530,000 people. And prior to Thursday, March 14, life in this coastal city, by no means a wealthy community, was pretty uneventful. This was a quiet sleepy town that moved very slowly. But now, in the wreck that is left, there is a sense of catastrophic urgency.
Day - Cyclone - Hit - Lives - People
The day the cyclone hit, the lives of the people of Beira were changed forever. Picture destructive winds, massive sheets of rain, and a force strong enough to wipe out entire cities. And then—imagine not having the infrastructure that we have here in the U.S. to combat against deadly natural disasters. That is exactly what happened here in Mozambique when Category 3 Cyclone Idai made landfall. Within a matter of hours, winds of over 100 miles per hour destroyed homes, buildings, roads, and almost the entire city. Ninety percent of Beira went underwater after the cyclone hit. Surviving community members are helping clear trees from houses, bail water from kitchens...
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