Sun. Jul 21st, 2019

Ramadan struggle in cyclone-hit Mozambique island

Mozambique Ramadan IboCyclone Kenneth killed at least 41 people across northern Mozambique and displaced thousands.

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by Zinyange Auntony for Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Muslims in the cyclone-ravaged Mozambican island of Ibo are struggling to observe the holy month of Ramadan as most mosques were destroyed and food is in short supply.

The island on the Quirimbas archipelago off Mozambique’s northeastern coast was one of the regions worst hit when Cyclone Kenneth struck last month packing winds of over 200 kilometres (125 miles) per hour.

Cyclone Kenneth damaged 90% of all buildings

Residents of the island, where the majority of the population is Muslim, were left without shelter and with few places to worship with estimates that 90 percent of buildings were damaged.

At one of the few mosques still standing, half of the roof was blown away by wind and prayer rugs were damaged by flooding.

Worshippers gather in one surviving section to say prayers. Female worshippers endure the harsh sun praying outdoors. 

“Very few people are attending prayers because mosques were destroyed.”

Muzasufar Abakari, head of the village of Guludo.

Aid agencies provide sustenance

Residents search for food to break the fast and survive mainly on high-energy biscuits handed out by aid agencies.

“As Muslims we observe Ramadan but there is no food to eat. On Friday (holy day) there was no-one because there is no wall at the mosque,” said Abakari.

The cyclone killed at least 41 people across northern Mozambique and displaced thousands.

Some people on Ibo have been sleeping in damaged mosques.

“People have been sleeping here because their houses were destroyed. With nothing — from clothes to food — God willing our prayers are answered and we will receive help.”

Imam Saidi Cassabo, from Kumwamba village.

Before the storm, Ibo island, a popular tourist destination, was a haven of golden beaches, unspoiled coral reefs and lush greenery.

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