, Mozambique, Jan 28 – Now that the water is receding, residents affected by flooding in Mozambique are starting to repair the damage, looking for good news amid reports of rooftop births and diarrhoea, and cholera lurking in the shadows.
The flooding from the Limpopo river, which began on Wednesday, killed around 40 people and forced more than 100,000 others to flee.
Amid the catastrophe, two babies were born on roofs where their mothers had taken refuge in the southern village of Guija.
“We helped one woman give birth on the roof of a clinic and another on top of a house when the water came,” Guija’s district health director Antonio Assede told AFP.
“One of the babies is four-day-old Rofino, who appears healthy at her mother’s breast.”
Olalia Machava, an aunt who assisted in the birth, added: “We had climbed to the top of the house when she started to have pains.
“A nurse helped her. The next day in the afternoon they came in boats to take her to hospital.”
The mud-filled hospital in Guija is empty, with all the furniture and equipment drying outside, while a nurse distributes painkillers to the sick and ensures the injured are airlifted to hospitals outside the area.
Local medical staff have already treated around 70 cases of diarrhoea and are keeping an eye out for cholera and other waterborne diseases.
“The children are beginning to get sick with diarrhoea because of the dirty water they are drinking. Their parents too,” Guija nurse Lourdes Machava told AFP.
Children in the village said they have had no drinking water nor food since Wednesday.
Apart from air transport, which is reserved for urgent cases, the only way to access the community of roughly 7,000 residents is by boat.
Local officials estimate that Guija will remain isolated for at least three months, the time it will take to rebuild the roads and bridges swept away by the Limpopo waters.