By Joseph Hanlon
Flooded roads and neighbourhoods, destroyed schools and power lines down have prevented registration brigades from starting work in some parts of Sofala and Manica in zones affected by Cyclone Idai. Registration was already delayed by two weeks, but it was not enough in some places. But tents, temporary structures, canoes and local improvisation mean registration has started in most places in the cyclone and flood affected areas.
In Beira, 30 of 64 registration posts are not operating, mainly due to lack of electricity caused by the cyclone. Three hundred transformers to link to solar panel has been sent from Maputo to try to resolve the problem, according to the local STAE (election technical secretariat, Secretariado Tecnico de Administracao Eleitoral).
Some registration posts also face equipment malfunctions. Two registration posts have been moved from damaged schools, from Escola Primaria de Ndunda to Escola Rei dos Reis and from EPC (primary school) 20 de Agosto to EPC Chamba 2.
In Nhamatanda district, impassable roads meant nine posts did not open the first day of registration (Monday). Five opened on the second with brigades crossing the Metuchira river by canoe to reach places that are still cut off. Four posts, all a primary schools, remain closed: EPC de Nhampoca, EPC de Nhandjera, EPC Nnhansalazi and EPC de Mufufu.
In Dondo district 300 families in Mutua are still cut off by the flooded Pungu Rivere, but STAE says they will be reached soon.
In Gorongosa district, five schools planned for registration were destroyed, but STAE has built temporary porches to allow them to function. The five schools are EPC Josina Machel, EPC de Nhacata, EPC de Tazaronda and EPC de Cudzo.
Buzi district was the worst affect, but STAE says all registration posts are functioning except in Inhamuchindo where the only roads are impassable.
Manica province was also hit, and destroyed electricity lines remain the biggest problem.
In Machaze, (Manica) our correspondents report that registration has not started in schools in Mutando, Chechene, Zimbire, Mecupe, and Chipambuleque, because electricity lines are down.
In Macate, of 27 posts which opened, seven stopped functioning because there was no power to recharge the equipment batteries. Those at Katize and Chissassa schools were able to reopen yesterday, the third day of registration. But those at Marera, Nhamazizi, Revue, Zembe-Centro, and Rupungue schools remained closed yesterday. District STAE has solar panels but it appears that the transformers to connect to the computers have not yet been received.
Also bridges are down, blocking roads.
In Sussundenga staff have resorted to paying $1 to local stallholders with solar panels or generators to charge batteries.
In Gondola, all 19 affected registration posts are open and operating from tents provided by STAE.
In Govuro, Inhambane, Matasse was affected by the cyclone. In a change of plans, a mobile brigade will now arrive there on 5 May after there has been more time for a clean up.
Community radios forced off the air, but some bouncing back
Community radios are important in informing local people about the registration, and many of our correspondents work for community radios. But the cyclone and flood had a serious impact, forcing many off the air. But some are already broadcasting again.
In Nhamatanda the radio was partly destroyed but was only off the air for two weeks and resumed transmissions on 28 March.
In Buzi the local radio was under water and suffered heavy damage, but is broadcasting.
In Dondo, Radio Aguia was partially destroyed when he roof fell in, but the journalists are continuing to work.
Water poured in to Radio GESOM in Chimoio and the studio and 250 watt transmitter were flooded and damaged, but it continues to broadcast on the smaller 100 watt transmitter.
A Radio Comunitaria Chipunguira, in Mossurize (Manica) is still off the air.
A Radio Comunitaria Gesom, in Gondola, has recently resumed broadcasting
A Radio Comunitaria de Macequece (Distrito de Manica) is only barely functioning and rain or gusts of wind interrupt transmissions.
In Vilankulo the cyclone damaged the repeater tower of Radio Mocambique e Televisao de Mocambique.
“There is a team of activists on the ground working with some radios to ensure continuity of service, and there is an effort to rebuild damaged radios,” said Mercedes Sayagues who is linked to CDAC – Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities.