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Special Report

Mozambique's cyclone survivors flee storm-struck region on foot

FRANCE 24 screen grab

Cyclone Idai has left some 1.85 million people in need of urgent assistance in Mozambique, according to the UN humanitarian agency, as local officials said they had found the first cases of cholera. FRANCE 24 met some of those fleeing the floods.

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Idai flattened homes and provoked widespread flooding after slamming into Mozambique near the port of Beira on March 14. It then ripped through neighbouring Zimbabwe and Malawi, killing at least 750 people across the three southern African countries.

Mozambique which has a population of around 30 million was hit hardest, with tens of thousands of homes destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people displaced across an area of some 3,000 square kilometres.

Five cases of cholera have been "confirmed" in Mozambique, the director of national health, Ussein Isse, announced on Wednesday.

>> Read more: Death toll from Cyclone Idai tops 750, more than 100,000 displaced

FRANCE 24’s reporters met flood victims in Sofala province, one of the most affected areas in the country, where there is no electricity and roads and fields are still flooded.

Here, for people desperate to flee the disaster-struck area, leaving on foot is the only option.

“Everybody is crying for food, there is no food,” says construction worker Marcos Mourao. “We see the helicopter passing [above]. We make some signs, but nobody is stopping.”

Mourao has walked 50 kilometres already, but he has a further 700 ahead of him to reach his home in Zambezi province.

“This is my life,” he says, clinging to a plastic bag that shields some documents from the water. ”That is why I am carrying it like a baby. Most of the people have lost everything.”

>> Read more: Mounting fears for children separated from parents after Mozambique’s cyclone

Officials say 447 people have died in Mozambique as a result of the cyclone. But in the stricken Buzi district, part of Sofala province, people say local casualties have not been counted.

“People over thereare laying fishing nets,” says flood victim Vasco Joaquim. “And those nets are catching dead bodies.”

Click on the player above to watch the report by Ayesha Ismail, Caroline Dumay and Stefan Carstens.

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