LISTEN | Journalists talk about Cyclone Idai - one year later

Two multimedia journalists revisit the battered and displaced village of Begaja, and again meet the survivors in their new settlement

05 June 2020 - 16:06 By MultimediaLIVE
The Buzi River outside Beira. On March 14 2019, the world turned its eyes to Mozambique when Cyclone Idai battered the coastal city of Beira and surrounding areas. It was the worst tropical cyclone on record in the southern hemisphere.
The Buzi River outside Beira. On March 14 2019, the world turned its eyes to Mozambique when Cyclone Idai battered the coastal city of Beira and surrounding areas. It was the worst tropical cyclone on record in the southern hemisphere.
Image: Emile Bosch

Begaja is a small village just under 70km, as the crow flies, from the port city Beira in Mozambique.

The drive is roughly 300km and takes about four hours, given that military roadblocks are frequent and the last leg of the journey is a 50km dirt road that runs parallel to the Buzi River.

The village is no longer where it once was after flood waters wiped out the area.

One year ago, the Sunday Times covered the story just days after the cyclone hit, and flood waters were still receding.

Now, a year later, we revisited the area and the people who were affected by the disaster. 

We catch up with multimedia journalist Emile Bosch and photographer Alaister Russell as they talk about how they were received in the village, now 2.5km away from the original settlement.

When the banks of the Buzi River broke, Begaja was wiped out, and survivors resettled downstream, 2.5km away.

Their new settlement is on the edge of the flood plains, roughly 3km from the banks of the river that rose by 10m.

These two satellite images, compared side by side, clearly show not only the extent of the damage and clear devastation of the village, but also just how the far removed the village now is  from its original location.

This article is part of a bigger feature that details life one year after the floods in Begaja.

FULL FEATURE: Tales from Begaja — a year after Cyclone Idai


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