Catholic Priest in Mozambique Says Challenges amid Cyclone Gombe “immeasurable”

Cyclone Gombe in Mozambique. Credit: Vatican Media

A Catholic Priest of Mozambique’s Nampula Archdiocese has, in an interview with ACI Africa, described the destruction caused by cyclone Gombe as “immeasurable.”

On Monday, March 14, the government of Mozambique announced the flooding of large areas of Northern and Central regions of the Southern African nation amid Cyclone Gombe.

The office of the Prime Minister announced that at least 15 people had lost their lives and that among the dead were “five members of the same family in the Angoche coastal area of Nampula Province.”

In the interview with ACI Africa, Fr. António Martinho Canera said that the impact of Cyclone Gombe, which made landfall over the Mozambican Province in the early hours of March 11, could not be quantified. 

“The calamities brought about by Cyclone Gombe are immeasurable; it is not possible to quantify how many people were left homeless, injured or the number of fatalities,” Fr. Canera who serves as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Nampula said during the March 14 interview. 


He added, “Numbers surpass the preliminary information provided by the National Institute for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction (INGD).”

The tropical storm, the Mozambican Catholic Priest said, has caused a “desolate scenario, with infrastructures severely damaged, affecting the provision of assistance in terms of health, education, water, and other services to the population.”

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the storm made landfall in Mossuril district in Nampula Province with maximum sustained winds of up to 190km/h.

“Close to 18,345 people have been affected, at least 20 people have been injured and another 15 have been killed in Nampula province”, the UN humanitarian department reported. 

The Governor of Nampula Province, Mety Gondola, has been quoted as saying, “More than 100,000 people were forced from their homes by the strong cyclone and about 12,000 houses were destroyed while 11,000 were seriously damaged.”

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In the March 14 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Canera recalled the visit of Archbishop Inácio Saúre of Nampula Archdiocese to Corrane district and other parts of Nampula to assess damages.

“Archbishop Saúre noted that most houses are submerged due to the floods; cassava and maize farms have been totally destroyed,” the member of the Clergy of Mozambique’s Nampula Archdiocese said.

He further said that houses built by Caritas Nampula for the victims of terrorism in Cabo Delgado were also destroyed.

“The situation is quite challenging because the Church wants to lend a helping hand, but the question is how? Who can assist us in helping those affected by Cyclone Gombe?” Fr. Canera posed.

He underscored the need for urgently providing assistance to victims of the tropical storm with humanitarian assistance including building materials.


“It's a very unfortunate situation, we ask people of goodwill to come forward and help rebuild livelihoods, the Archdiocese cannot do it alone, we lack resources,” the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Nampula told ACI Africa March 14.

Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.