'Visual Chaos': A Photographer's View Of Cyclone Kenneth | WAMC

'Visual Chaos': A Photographer's View Of Cyclone Kenneth

Apr 29, 2019
Originally published on April 30, 2019 4:19 pm

Imagine your house is gone. And yet the TV is still standing.

That's one of the scenes that photojournalist Tommy Trenchard documented as he visited parts of Mozambique hit by Cyclone Kenneth on Thursday.

A TV is still standing — but probably not working — in the cyclone-damaged home of Tamazina Carlos in Macomia.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR
Tamazina Carlos sits outside what remains of her house. The school assistant escaped just before the ceiling caved in. Since the cyclone hit on Thursday, she has been sleeping under a pile of palm fronds.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Winds reportedly blew up to 174 miles per hour.

More than 20 inches of rain fell over a couple of days — with another 20 inches forecast this week.

This man is wading from house to house in the Wimbi neighborhood of the city of Pemba, one of the hardest hit by flooding. He and others helped residents bring their possessions to higher ground.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR
After the cyclone knocked out a bridge in Macomia, people worked to build a makeshift replacement out of logs and planks.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Houses were obliterated, roads turned into rivers and the death toll now stands at 38.

The storm struck some six weeks after Cyclone Idai, touching down in a different part of the country — in the north. Both cyclones are rare events. According to the World Meteorological Organization, "there is no record of two storms of such intensity striking Mozambique in the same season."

A man stands in his wrecked home in Macomia.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

And so a country already in the throes of a humanitarian disaster — the World Bank puts a $2 billion price tag on the recovery effort for Idai — is reeling again.

Trenchard traveled north from the city of Pemba to Macomia and surrounding villages, "where the destruction is incredibly severe," he says. "It was overwhelming to see the visual chaos — the mess of fallen trees, belongings, collapsed homes."

A man tries to cut up a tree that has crushed part of his house in Macomia.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Despite the destruction, he saw people "calmly getting their lives back in order. Of course there's shock and despair, but you also see incredible stoicism and resilience. Amid the carnage there are even small glimpses of normal life going on. In Macomia two days after the storm, some shops had already reopened even though they no longer had a roof or four walls."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
People walk along a main road in Macomia past power lines downed by Cyclone Kenneth. Vehicles could just about get through by driving on the side of the road.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR