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New York

Tuesday 20th March 2018

Observing Ramadan A Struggle in Cyclone-Ravaged Mozambique


7Dnews London

Thu, 16 May 2019 12:52 GMT

In the wake of two deadly cyclones which destroyed mosques and cut fresh water and food supplies, Mozambique Muslims on the island of Ibo are struggling to observe the holy month of Ramadan.

The island, which is located on the Quirimbas archipelago off Mozambique's north-eastern coast, was one of the regions worst hit when Cyclone Kenneth struck last month. The storm brought winds of up to 200 kilometres per hour.

Residents were left without shelter and with only a few places to worship as Kenneth damaged some 90% of all buildings on the island.

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 are forced to gather in one surviving section to say their prayers. Female worshippers have no choice but to endure the harsh sun while praying outdoors.

"Very few people are attending prayers because mosques were destroyed," said Muzasufar Abakari, head of the village of Guludo.

Residents have to search for food in order to break the fast. They survive mainly on high-energy biscuits that have been 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 is believed to have left at least 41 people dead across northern Mozambique. Thousands were displaced due to the massive flooding that occurred.

Some of the residents living 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," said imam Saidi Cassabo, from Kumwamba village.

According to AFP, Ibo island was a popular tourist destination before Cyclone Kenneth struck.