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16.05.2019 Mozambique

Muslims In Mozambique Island Struggle To Observe Ramadan After Cyclone Hit

Zinyange AUNTONY
Africa Man Yam, 19, endures the wait for aid on Ibo where the majority of the population is Muslim.  By Zinyange Auntony (AFP)
MAY 16, 2019 MOZAMBIQUE
Man Yam, 19, endures the wait for aid on Ibo where the majority of the population is Muslim. By Zinyange Auntony (AFP)

Muslims in the cyclone-ravaged Mozambican island of Ibo are struggling to observe the holy month of Ramadan as most mosques were destroyed and food is in short supply.

The island on the Quirimbas archipelago off Mozambique's northeastern coast was one of the regions worst hit when Cyclone Kenneth struck last month packing winds of over 200 kilometres (125 miles) per hour.

The island on the Quirimbas archipelago off Mozambique's northeastern coast was one of the regions worst hit when Cyclone Kenneth struck last month. By Zinyange Auntony (AFP) The island on the Quirimbas archipelago off Mozambique's northeastern coast was one of the regions worst hit when Cyclone Kenneth struck last month. By Zinyange Auntony (AFP)

Residents of the island, where the majority of the population is Muslim, were left without shelter and with few places to worship with estimates that 90 percent of buildings were damaged.

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 gather in one surviving section to say prayers. Female worshippers endure the harsh sun praying outdoors.

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

At one of the few mosques still standing, half of the roof was blown away by wind and prayer rugs were damaged by flooding. By Zinyange Auntony (AFP) At one of the few mosques still standing, half of the roof was blown away by wind and prayer rugs were damaged by flooding. By Zinyange Auntony (AFP)

Residents search for food to break the fast and survive mainly on high-energy biscuits 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 killed at least 41 people across northern Mozambique and displaced thousand.

Rajabu Salima, 27, get ready for prayers. Some people have been sleeping in damaged mosques because their homes have been completely destroyed. By Zinyange Auntony (AFP) Rajabu Salima, 27, get ready for prayers. Some people have been sleeping in damaged mosques because their homes have been completely destroyed. By Zinyange Auntony (AFP)

Some people 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.

Before the storm, Ibo island, a popular tourist destination, was a haven of golden beaches, unspoiled coral reefs and lush greenery.

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