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Juan Carlos surveys ruined crops | by Caritas Internationalis
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Juan Carlos surveys ruined crops

Juan Carlos (45), wife Anita Lopez Paulo (34) who have six children (aged 8 to 23 years) and five grandchildren (all under 3 with the youngest only 4 weeks old) living with them.


Juan: We have lived here for ten years. I am a peasant farmer and farm 3 hectares growing maize, rice, tomatoes, sweet potato and cassava. It is hard to grow enough to feed my family so I take on day work on other farms.


Anita: On the day of the cyclone the winds started blowing in the afternoon but we soon saw that there was a real threat. We were hiding in our house when the roof ripped off. We ran to a mud outbuilding to take shelter. We stood upright all night with our hands over our heads. The following day the flooding came at us from both sides. I had to grab my 3 weeks old grandson as I thought he would drown. We ran to the school for shelter and had to stay there for four days. We have lost everything – our clothes, the babies clothes, utensils, documents.


Juan: We were really afraid as we had heard a lot of people had drowned and houses were washed away in the floods. We tried to patch the roof as best we can when we came back but we had no materials like nails. Our crops have been wiped out. We have been going to the school to get a cup of either rice or beans a day for the whole family. I managed to salvage a small bunch of bananas and we have been eking those out too.


Fernando Jose (26 - nephew who lives nearby): The token we have received will help us a lot. It will give us a lifeline and it is well organised which is good. We know we will get help with the token. Some food came before from an agency but it was done at the side of the road and resulted in anger and strive amongst the people here.

David O'Hare/Caritas

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Taken on April 5, 2019