Cyclone IDAI: We are engaged in mitigating the effects of this humanitarian disaster, says UNAC

National Peasant Union (UNAC) Press release

The National Peasant Union (UNAC), a movement of peasants in Mozambique, created by the peasants themselves more than 30 years ago, as a platform for the defence of their social, economic and cultural rights and interests, expresses its deep concern and consternation at the violent impact of the passage of the Cyclone IDAI and the subsequent floods, with a violent path of destruction and mourning throughout its journey.

Indeed, the National Farmers’ Union regrets to note that despite the above-normal fall in rainfall in the centre of the country, it has gradually intensified since the beginning of the year, affecting, above all, the historically vulnerable areas. The passage of the IDAI cyclone had historical impact on the city of Beira and its surroundings. The heavy rains and winds, which devastated practically everything, combined with the large amounts of water coming from the neighbouring and equally affected countries surprised everyone, including the peasants, who were for the harvest of the 2018/2019 agricultural season.

From the data available on official information channels, however, which are constantly being updated, this catastrophe claimed the lives of around 250 people in the country until yesterday, injured around 1,500, displaced more than 23,000 families and left more than 350,000 people at risk, including mostly peasant families living in rural areas.

Hundreds of thousands of peasant families, including children, women and people with special needs, were forced to leave their homes and farms, losing their assets and their sources of livelihood.

The images circulating on social networks and televisions show us a worrying and desolate scenario, with thousands of our compatriots, their animals and goods, floating, or hanging from trees and roofs of houses, crying out desperately for rescue. The rescuers lack almost everything, even a smile, or information about the whereabouts of the other members of their families.

At this critical moment of consternation, fear, desolation and mourning, within the peasant families spread, above all, by the Provinces of Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambézia, we peasants and peasants, the leadership, the members and all the collaborators and militants of the National Peasant Union, although we are also the main victims, we reiterate our solidarity with our companions who, with courage and determination, are engaged in mitigating the effects of this humanitarian disaster.

Next, we peasant families welcome the different gestures of solidarity manifested in different fronts and quadrants, from the national to the international level, which is being done, without measuring any effort to do so.

We also reaffirm our inalienable commitment to the consolidation of agroecological practices, to the food sovereignty of peasant families, and to peasant agriculture. We also reaffirm our commitment to the struggle for the realization of the rights and interests of peasants. And we remain firm in our struggle, guided by and in full agreement with the constitutional precept, according to which “agriculture is the basis for the development of our country”.

We launched a peasant solidarity current, mobilizing collaborators, militants, and peasants and peasants from the Provincial Unions of Cabo Delgado, Niassa, Nampula, northern Zambezia, Tete, Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo, to provide all possible support to comrades and companions of the affected provinces, also using the spaces of associations / cooperatives, district unions and provincial unions, for this purpose.

Finally, the National Union of Peasants is in solidarity with all peasants, families and citizens, victims of this calamity. He sends his deepest condolences to his fellow mourners and, in general, to the Mozambican people, an appeal for continuous caution, in virtue of the permanent warnings about the possibility of new storms.

United Peasants Will Always Win!

Maputo, 21 March 2019

Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings