Celina’s World Ripped Apart by Cyclone Idai

BEIRA – Flying into Beira, Mozambique, was a harrowing sight: hundreds upon hundreds of houses tangled together, their roofs ripped off and walls collapsed. Floods dominated the low-lying plains; hundreds of people having been drowned beneath the murky water. The fury of Cyclone Idai.

At just 14, Celina’s entire world has been torn apart – her family had to flee their destroyed home, and are now sleeping in a school with hundreds of other displaced people. Most of them are young children.

Celina recalls being scared and confused the night the storm hit. “I have never heard anything like that. The wind was so strong,” she says. She, her mum, sisters and baby nephew managed to flee when the roof of their home was ripped off and a tree fell onto their house, but a neighbour wasn’t so lucky. As the waters rose he couldn’t escape in his wheelchair and had to abandon it – crawling through the storm, only to be struck by a flying sheet of metal and killed.

Life at the school is hard for Celina – it’s not a safe place for girls, and there’s no privacy. With hundreds packed into a tiny space and sharing few toilets, disease is likely to spread fast. There’s also not enough food to go around, and fights often break out.

NGOs including World Vision are on the ground in Beira working hard to reach all those in need, like Celina. With roads impassable for more than a week after the cyclone struck, the only way to reach many vulnerable communities was initially by helicopter. World Vision’s team flew with Mercy Wings, a partner NGO, to give aid to a remote community nearby the city. They met countless children there for whom this was the first sign of food and clean water since the cyclone hit. Understandably, they felt forgotten by the outside world.

These communities were already vulnerable – in that village, many children displayed obvious signs of long-term malnutrition. For them, the cyclone was a disaster on top of a disaster.

And sadly, it will be a long time before life in Mozambique goes back to normal. With diseases such as cholera and typhoid likely to break out soon, and with many communities still cut off, it’s a race against time to reach those most in need.

Celina’s not sure what the future holds, or when she’ll be able to go home. “I want to go back to school,” she told me. “I wish I could be at home with my friends. I don’t know how things will be in the future.”

World Vision is among 14 organizations that have launched a joint appeal under the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), which brings together leading charities at time of crises. If you wish to donate, please click here.

About World Vision

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Founded in 1950, World Vision serves close to 100 million people in nearly 100 countries, including the United States. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

World Vision empowers children, families, and communities to escape poverty and injustice through programs like child sponsorship, clean water, education, food security, farming and agriculture, economic development, disaster relief, medical care, clothing and shelter, spiritual nurture, trafficking prevention, and advocacy on behalf of those whom we serve.

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