A stranded motorist in Mozambique spent days trying to get from the port city of Beira to his home in Chimoio in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, which has destroyed towns and villages in its path and left floods of up to six metres deep.

Graham Taylor, a Zimbabwean agriculture and forestry adviser who has lived in Mozambique’s Manica province for 10 years, had gone to Beira on Friday to help his son with emergency repairs.

He told the BBC about his return journey and the scenes he witnessed days before any aid agencies arrived.

I left Beira on Saturday at around 9am. About an hour and a half out going west to Chimoio, I encountered huge flood waters crossing this main newly built highway – vast amounts of water half a metre deep, 6km-7km (four to five miles) wide.

I managed to get through this and reached a little sugar town called Lamego. It was here that I became stranded, as ahead it turned out was a further 7km of flooded road, and where I witnessed the most horrific scene.

About 95% of the houses had been levelled and destroyed, especially those constructed out of poles and mud. If there was a roof remaining, people were on it. There were people on rooftops and trees – families, kids and babies on trees as far as the eye could see.


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