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03 Apr 2019 10:51
Not all is lost: Baby Sara with her mom Amélia. (Image via Unicef)
Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique and Zimbabwe last month, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. But amid the horror are also stories of strength, resilience and survival.
Like this one, about a pregnant woman who saved her son from the floods, and then, while clinging on for dear life in the branches of a mango tree, gave birth to her new daughter.
The mother’s name is Amélia, and she lives in a village near the small administrative outpost of Dombe, in Mozambique’s Manica province.
In her own words, according to the United Nations children’s agency, Unicef: “I was with my little 2-year-old son, when suddenly, without warning, the water started to get inside my house, I had no option but to jump on top of a nearby mango tree.
Later, the neighbours helped me to get down and we came to this place like everybody else,” she said, speaking from a temporary accommodation centre in Dombe.
The family is now receiving medical attention and support in a temporary accommodation centre in Dombe. “Baby Sara…now seems to be doing fine despite of her amazing arrival into this world. She is being breastfed constantly by her mother Amélia, who is receiving the solidarity and support from the other affected mothers in the accommodation centre,” said Unicef.
Sara is not the first Mozambican baby to be born in a tree during a flood. During the 2000 floods, baby Rosita made international headlines after being delivered in a tree in Chokwe village.
A decade later, the Mail & Guardian’s Beauregard Tromp caught up with her mother, Sofia Chubango, who recalled her harrowing experience. “It was very, very painful. I was crying, screaming. Sometimes I thought the baby was coming, but other times I thought it was because of hunger…We got scared, we feared we were going to be blown out of the tree.” Chubango knows, however that she — and Rosita — were among the lucky ones. “A lot of people lost everything in the floods, but I gained something,” she said.
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